It's Labor Day weekend! The official end of summer (at least as far as the public pools and rules about wearing white are concerned), so why not celebrate with one more trip to the beach? And by "beach" I don't mean the chilly shores of the Pacific Northwest -- I want sun and sand and heat and friends and wild ponies and dinner rolls at Jimmy's Grille.
Only one place for all of that: Assateague Island, off the coast of Virginia.
I flew to DC today, en route to the island. I'll be meeting Amy and other friends there for a long weekend of beach camping -- starting tomorrow. Instead of heading straight there, I decided to stop for a night in the place that was home for the past six years.
Oh man, did it feel good to be back! That humid heat outside the airport, the cicadas in the flowering trees, the warm summer eveng that only gets softer, not cooler.
I soaked up the feel of the town, relishing not only the obvious markers of place (hello, monuments!), but also the little things that made it feel like home. Like how the classical radio station comes in loud and clear (unlike Seattle, where all I can find at the bottom of the dial is jazz and static). And how I could walk around town and see people wearing clothing that had been ironed and not a single neck tattoo or body piercing or white person with dreadlocks. And how the lawns are green and surrounded by lush flower gardens in all their late-summer glory, with lovely brick townhouses rising behind them.
I met with friends for dinner (Korean!) and hung out talking long after. We caught up on what we'd missed in each other's lives over the past four months. The friends, the dating, the big work projects, the juicy work gossip.
I won't deny that I felt pretty homesick for that former life of mine. It was like Lizzie Bennett seeing Pemberley for the first time, only in my case, the verb was in past tense: this had been all mine, and I'd walked away.
Then I learned that if I'd stayed, I would have been working through this weekend on a massive deal for one of my former clients.
So I remind myself why I left in the first place and embrace this feeling of "almost home" as a sign of good things to come. After all, this was how I'd felt about New York when I moved to DC six years ago. In time, surely, I'll grow to feel that way about Seattle.