Give Me a Break: Highlights from July in Wisconsin
I left my hometown in Wisconsin twelve years ago this month for graduate school in Cincinnati. Since then, life has taken me in many directions, most of them unforeseen. For the last six years, I’ve lived in Toronto.
For the first handful of years of grad school, I traveled home often, the breaks in my academic terms providing natural times of travel and refreshment.
Somewhere along the way, though–moving abroad, getting married, moving to Canada, having jobs–my regular jaunts to Wisconsin fell away. When I do make it back, it is usually for a long weekend, or a short week filled with Christmas chaos.
I was starting to feel disconnected and discombobulated.
Wisconsin isn’t perfect but there is something about it that makes me feel whole–the flat, rolling cornfields (and, increasingly, soybean fields); the wide-open spaces; the faint tinge of manure in the air; the small towns and cities; the quietness; the sense of heritage, of having come from somewhere. To say nothing of the family and friends I still have there.
For all the opportunities Toronto affords me and my husband (who grew up here), my peace with this overcrowded, overpriced city has always been a little uneasy.
Getting back to Wisconsin was the single most centering, inspiring thing I have done this year–as a writer, yes, but also as a human being. I rekindled relationships, soaked in the sun and skies (and mosquitos), got back into running, finished a book manuscript (more on that soon!), cuddled with my new nephew, caught up on my genealogy research, and ate more dairy products than I have in a long time (this is Wisconsin, people). All in all, a much-needed break!
Where do you go to feel whole and reconnected?