I want to move to Buffalo. All that snow appeals to me. But Buffalo is a passing fancy. As is Newfoundland (I think). Newfoundland, small foreign villages in pick-a-country (Ireland, Spain, the Philippines, anywhere in South America or Africa without the overgrown insects). Sometimes I dream of going north north. They’re always looking for teachers and nurses up there.
Sometimes I dream of cities, preferably somewhere cold. Cities with soup kitchens and streets and friends that you don’t have to drive to. Cities with vibrant churches, schools, museums, and concerts. Cities with artists, musicians, and other writers. Cities, or maybe towns, with neighbour kids and lots of people who live next door.
When I visit my grandparents, my fancies turn to the Finger Lakes. And what of Michigan, I said last year when a writer’s retreat took me that way. For a woman who likes where she lives, the near yearning for new lands is a puzzle.
Unless it’s not. Unless the restless searching is part of being here and not quite home. I’ve been thinking about that for myself, but also how it might relate to dementia. What if it’s we, the memory rich, who forget we don’t belong here. That there’s a reason we can’t quite settle in. What if somewhere deep down under what we see, people with dementia begin to glimpse in stages that their belonging is somewhere else?
My loneliness, emptiness, the hollows of my soul. Maybe we all forget that they’re not mine or yours, they’re ours. That we walk a planet full of lonely people together. It is either insanity that we don’t connect enough to fill each other’s emptiness – or it is reality that we never really can. I’m guessing it’s a little of both. That we’re put here to hold hands and help each other, but we can’t quite make it all better.
Why that makes me want to go to Newfoundland is anybody’s guess. But maybe it’s ok sometimes to feel a little disconnected where we are. To wander a bit down here in search of there.