Hometown Tourist

When I moved to my little college town, I had no intention of staying longer than the four years it took to secure my undergraduate degree in English Literature.

College Stairway

But I did.

I hung around the year after graduation, working my first full-time job and seeing how things would go with this guy I’d been dating. (They went well.) Now I’m halfway into my 6th year of living in this little place and I can hardly believe it.  After all, I’m a rambler. I get fidgety if I my surroundings are the same for too long. Pushing 6 years in one place strikes me as a very long time.

The other day I took a little walk, to imagine I was seeing this town for the first time.

And I did.

I rediscovered my little college town.

Stone Chapel Windows

For the first time I noticed that stone gargoyles peek out from the windows overlooking the chapel garden. And I learned that when the light is just right, you can capture these Old World impressions. How many times had I sat in that garden to read, or write, or pray? How many times had I failed to take in the intricacies, the delicate beauties?

Though many of our wedding photos were shot right in front of this imposing stained glass window, and our wedding took place directly on the other side, I’d never really taken in the artwork. And my word what a gorgeous piece of work it is! Have you ever followed architectural lines as they shoot upwards towards the sky? Have you ever felt that small?

Chapel Stained Glass Window in the Sun

I was also struck to hear the remarks from other (legitimate) tourists on my stroll. During the summertime, our artsy town attracts busloads of people from across the country – usually wearing wide brimmed straw hats and brightly colored clothes (so they don’t lose each other in the midst of the more earthy locals, I suppose). They remark on how charming the whitewashed store fronts look. On how peaceful the pace of the town seems to be. On the wonderful meal they’ve just enjoyed at the mom and pop restaurant around the corner. On details I am free to enjoy everyday, but am often blind to.

To be honest, I do still hope a new surrounding will be on the horizon one day. But, for this day – and for all the days I can see – I want to be a better hometown tourist.

What about you? Do you ever get restless living in the same place? Or does that sort of continuity give you comfort?

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