Coming Home to Maine
by Rebecca Falzano
My journey from New York City to Maine happened by way of California—specifically somewhere between Yosemite National Park and the Pacific Coast Highway. I was on a two-week summer road trip with my boyfriend, and while we were marveling at giant sequoias and monoliths, we suddenly and wholeheartedly had a bit of a realization: our lives could exist elsewhere and be perfectly okay. Of course this shouldn’t have come as life-altering news, but when you live in New York City long enough, it’s easy to become so blinded by its vitality, energy, and vibrancy—not to mention all the opportunity and possibility—that you can’t imagine life elsewhere. But after five years living there and just fourteen days on an opposite coast, it had become clear that the city we once couldn’t imagine living without would soon go on living without us. And we, and it, would be just fine.
After ample research and lots of traveling, we decided on Maine, or maybe it is more accurate to say that Maine decided on us. Its jagged coastline, myriad islands, ocean smells, and childhood memories beckoned. It seemed a natural fit; I had grown up in upstate New York—Maine was familiar and felt similar to the Adirondacks and the New England I remembered from family vacations. I was no stranger to a seemingly endless dump of snow. I had known what it was like to live in a place without a Starbucks on every corner. I could appreciate immense natural beauty and four distinct seasons. In another way, it was worlds apart from what I’d been used to most recently, a way of life that offered little elbow room. I embraced the return to a saner lifestyle and wide open spaces.
In anticipation of leaving the city, I read E. B. White’s Here Is New York. In it, White talks about how there are three New Yorks: one, that of the native who was born there and takes it for granted; two, that of the commuter who comes and goes each day; and three, that of the person who was born elsewhere but comes to New York in quest of something. He goes on to say, that while the commuters are what give the city its tidal restlessness and the natives, its solidity and continuity, it is the settlers who give it passion. I found it ironic because, though the book was written about New York, I couldn’t help but feel this way about my current move here as well. For anyone who has chosen to come to a place—like Maine—there is something that has propelled us here, something we have followed. And with that, comes the conscious decision to leave the place from which we came. There is something to be said of a place that can have such a draw as that. It is special. Quite obviously, Maine is special.
And so, on the first day of winter, we moved here. Already, we are overwhelmed by the great expanse of land and beauty—from the mountains to the ocean and everything in between. Maine has lured us in with its promise of so many things: The rocky coastline and its thousands of islands, which I’ve always thought on a map resembled shattered glass. The culture and arts found in the Old Port. The mill towns and their history. The densely forested lands and low, rolling mountains. The people and their stories. The homes and their stories.
I know the phrase “coming home” usually connotes a return to a place…a feeling of warmth and familiarity, a come-back. But even though the faces and places are all new to me, the feeling I have is one I recognize. There is so much to explore, but somehow it already feels like home.