Pulse of a Place

Everyone is so different.  This simple fact never ceases to intrigue me.

A friend from college had been dreaming about moving to NYC and after many years and a detour, her dream was realized this month.  It was exciting to watch this unfold even though it was only through Facebook.

It did make me reflect.  The city she had been yearning for all these years was the very city I yearned to leave.

Don’t get me wrong.  NYC will *always* have a piece of my heart.  It is the setting for our story:  from boyfriend-girlfriend to engaged to married to two baby boys to one more bonus baby.  Also the setting for our late night fights and bad cycles and tears and no family to help during those tender baby and toddler years.

That city wasn’t just the backdrop.  It was a dominant character in the story because hey, it’s NYC.

Now that I’ve boomeranged back to my home state after 13 years in NYC, I am as happy as a turtle sunbathing on a rock.  With shades on.

Those 13 years made me see my hometown in a totally different light, almost like getting back with an ex.  “Oh, you mean other places range from cold to freezing cold almost six months of the year?!  Not lined with palm trees?!  People rushing all the time and zoning out on the subway?”

I also realized that the difference between what my friend and I yearned for could be summed up in one phrase:  the pulse of a place.

I needed to graduate from the very energy that is NYC – the palpable energy that makes everyone say there is NO other place like it.  The energy that was wearing me out daily.

NYC has its incomparable beauty.  I can’t do it justice by only listing a few examples so I won’t.

But at my age and life stage, I needed a different pulse.  No more beep beep-honk honk-sirens-catching trains-trekking in the dirty snow-trash piled up high on the sidewalks.

My new pulse is slower and quieter.  And oh how I delight in it.  I look forward to each day in a new way.

Mountain views so beautiful they look downright fake.

Palm trees…and more palm trees on the next block.

Neighbor’s grapefruit tree spilling treasures onto the sidewalk when the gusty Santa Ana (warm) winds hit the other night.

Sun beaming down on me the week before Halloween.

Still wearing shorts in October.

People walking their dogs slowly.  Smiling.

No one honking at me (first car to honk at me in 2.5 months had MA plates!).

Wide open spaces that I dreamt about, prayed for.

Strangers saying “hello” and me being the New Yorker wondering if they talkin’ to me.

Gardens.  Succulents.  (And yes, NYC has beauties like these too – my faves being Wave Hill and Storm King-but those spots were oases away from the frenetic pulse I can now love on a visit, not day-to-day).

Puig calling in to Power 106, promising to take the Dodgers to the World Series. Game 1 starts tomorrow – Dodgers vs. Red Sox.

George Michael’s “Faith” playing on my car radio and Ellen K. punctuating with, “We gotta have faith…in our Dodgers,” in a completely serious tone.

No place is perfect.  But I’mma take the 210 to the 10 to the 118 to the 134 to the 101 to the 405 to the 2 to the happy face on my heart.  No place like home.

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