Erin's Everyday Thoughts

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

On Tuesday Evening: A Nation of Nomads

I just finished reading TAKING TERRI MUELLER, a young-adult novel by Norma Fox Mazer. I read this as a possible source for my critical essay. In this book, a 13-yr-old girl finds out that she was kidnapped by her father when she was five years old, after he and her mother divorced. (To this point, he had led her to believe that her mother died in a car accident.) The girl, Terri, has spent her entire childhood after age 5 in transit, moving from city to city and town to town, uprooted again and again. As Mike said when I was describing the story to him, she and her father have been "on the lam."

This got me thinking about another something that was discussed in a grad lecture. In preparation for the lecture, we'd been asked to read the book BUT COME YE BACK by Beth Lordan, a novel in stories. In this novel, the main gal, in her youth, moved from her homeland Ireland to the United States to discover a new life.

During the course of the lecture concerning this novel, the faculty member discussed the idea of uprooting one's life to move to a new place. The U.S. was created by folks willing to leave their homeland to try someplace new. They came for many different reasons, some perhaps as a last resort. But still they came.

During the lecture, this concept resonated for me. And it has lingered. Are we a nation of nomads? Are we a nation of people very good at leaving things behind?

When I think of my life, I think of it in segments. Eighteeen years in my hometown, four years in my college town, two years in northeast Pennsylvania, six months in southeast Pennsylvania, five years in Cincinnati. And with each move, leaving behind a life, a world, friends. The tug forward always greater than the tug backward.

I wonder if its in our blood, this ability to up and move to someplace new.

But I also know that when I was in Pennsylvania, I felt a draw toward Ohio, toward home. And when I arrived back here, after years away, I started to connect with Cincinnati in a way that I hadn't connected with a place since I left my hometown. Especially since I've moved into my own house (Mike and I have been here for a year this month), the sense of home has been growing stronger in me. And leaving seems less and less likely.

So maybe we're only nomads until we find the home we're meant to find.