This morning marks the first after the rush and stress of moving into our house in St. George. I am sitting in my newly furnished room, listening to Brian Eno's Music for Airports part I. There is this quiet sadness that I suddenly feel about leaving Georgia--but really the East Coast, my home, the Tamarack forest, the colonial history, the many places that I have etched into my mind as real beauty--Bingham swamp, deep in Georgia where we could hear the alligators' mating calls, or when we went to Harper's Ferry one autumn afternoon after church, or just the view of the tall woods from our house in Silver Spring.
I really didn't feel sad about moving until now. I haven't in general. I think that geography is incredibly important and that there's some real feelings that we can associate to the directions North, East, South, and West. The North is my goal, and always will be. The South, as we left it, felt like a stuck place to me. It felt hot, tired, maybe even angry. It was the title character from Faulkner's A Rose for Emily, holding onto the corpse of old ideas, staying in the same decaying room until death. I know it's a bit dramatic, but I can't emphasize this feeling enough. I literally felt as if a burden had been lifted as we left the state line of Georgia....then I felt it again as we left Kentucky and entered Georgia again for a couple of minutes due to the way the highway runs through the state. Then once more, and finally it was gone. I don't intend to insult the South, because it is in many ways a very nice place to live, this is just how I feel currently.
The West is new, it is fresh, it is, in a way, the modern art of geography. It is starkly beautiful, misunderstood and uncomfortable at times, exhilarating at others. For me, it is a training ground for however long it needs to be--years or decades. St. George is a particularly happy, sunshiney city, but I feel towards it the way I feel towards the utopian small town in Big Fish that Edward Bloom finds in the middle of the forest, early in his journey and decides to leave to continue on with the adventure of life and jumping spiders. On a related note, whenever I move somewhere, I look up the spiders of the area simply because they are the worst and it turns out there's only one kind of deadly spider in St. George as opposed to the millions in Georgia. So that's another good thing. By the way it's called a Desert recluse and unlike the Brown Recluse, it's Eastern counterpart, it doesn't have a violin shape on it's head. You can recognize it by it's similar body shape and the six eyes it has on it's head, instead of the normal spider's amount of eight eyes.