The American Dream, or the idea of it, takes us forward. It isn't that the only place to be happy is the horizon. We know that it's the journey and not the destination that fills our days. We live our own stories, protagonist, antagonist, drama and comedy. Still, the draw is there carrying us along in it's wake. And we move.
I live in Kansas. I can't begin to count the number of people who've quoted lines from the Wizard of Oz when I tell them that. " Toto, I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore." or, on the other end of the movie, " There's no place like home." Classic. And I've never met anyone who didn't like that story either.
A lonely little girl and the dog she's trying to protect get caught in the tail of a tornado and blown in to a magical land, somewhere over the rainbow. It's so entangled in to our culture now that pop stars sing Dorothy's song, Somewhere Over The Rainbow, and now there's a Rainbow Bridge that we all cross from this life to the next, where we find all of the animals we've loved in life waiting for us.
I've lived on both sides of the Ocean, but Kansas always draws me back. It's a place of big skies, neighbors who help without question, and that wave that we all give each other as we drive down back country roads. It's quiet here. I like that. I love my days spent in my fields with nothing but the wind in the grass, frog song along the edge of the ponds and the sound of my horses grazing.
Some of my ancestors lay in the ground here, my Grandparents who showed me the joys of gardening, cooking, caring for my horses and dogs and the cranky independent barn cats.
I went to University here, studied, watched the inevitable KU basketball games, celebrated when we won our Big Kahuna status along with several thousand other raucous fans who clogged the streets, honking horns and dancing. And I've painted, established my career as a Midwestern artist, designer, photographer and illustrator. And, like all Kansans, I never pass up the opportunity to tell a good story.
But part of my family now lives in Virginia. I'd like to be able to drive an hour or two away, not fly for hours to visit. And the artist in me is yearning for a new landscape to paint and explore, gardens to nurture, southern winds to sing me to sleep.
I miss them. And I see myself in a place with a beautiful old saltbox house, like my Mother's Mother's, with deep Virginia grasses and the Atlantic just over the horizon. I want to ride my horses down a beach at sunset and stand at the edge of the ocean with them, letting them seek their own horizon so much like the sea of grass that is Kansas.
I'm ready. Carry me back to Virginia where the green grass calls and the countryside waits for me behind split rail fences and graceful trees, bending over the drive home. Take me to new places, to air scented with salt and skies hazy with lazy white clouds, noreasters on the far Winter horizons.