Friday, November 9, 2012

Staying Put

In The Merry Recluse, the late Caroline Knapp writes about finding home. It wasn't a grand "ah-hah" moment, she says. "I figured Boston would be an interim city, a place to set down my bags until I moved on to some bigger, more exotic locale ... I figured I'd be transient, my sense of place fluid, my attachments focused on people and jobs rather than on location. And then, not long ago, I looked up one day and thought: Oh, my God. I have a life here. I'm not moving. I'm home."

Her point is that many of us don't choose our place; our place chooses us. It's not so much a decision as a non-decision. A not-moving rather than a staying put.

What helped Knapp stay put is the Charles River, "one of the longest, best stretches of flat water for rowing anywhere in the U.S." and where Knapp would scull four or five times a week.

If we stay here (and it's always "if"), it will be because of the hollow tree along Little Difficult Run, the one Copper always has to stick his nose in on the days he's lucky enough to get a walk. It will be because of the mossy hill and the view of treetops I can see from there. It will be because of this one ancient knobby tree stump I always look for because more often than not it trips me up. 

It will be the little things that keep us here.

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