i went home and it was meaningful

May 28, 2012

I just got back from 10 days in Indiana. It was hot and sticky and I saw a ton of rabbits and fat squirrels in peoples yards. My friend Becky almost hit a small rabbit when she was driving. “What should I do,” she said a bunch of times in a row as the little rabbit first went one way and then another, and even though neither one of us could really see the thing over the hood of her Jeep Cherokee, she somehow avoided running over it. I don’t know why I’m telling this story; it’s not something specific to Indiana and I didn’t even remember that it happened until I started writing this post, but I can so easily recall how relieved I felt to look out my window and see the bunny hopping away.

I spent a lot of time with a lot different people and I was more aware than ever of the sound of the Hoosier twang — a definite accent where people say things like Induhnapolis instead of Indianapolis. I pretty much love that twang and can easily slip into myself, given enough time, which I had after a week.  I wish I could keep the accent up out here and not sound like everyone else, but it would take such a conscious effort to do it and I think it would sound forced, which feels like the exact opposite of how a twang should sound. I am imagining effortlessness and not sounding rehearsed and performative. I guess I’m also imagining sincerity and a certain kind of friendliness.

I loved being home this time, even when things bugged the shit out of me or I felt terribly sad, and I wouldn’t trade any part of it in. I hung out with so many of my favorite people and spent time in so many of my favorite places and helped my mom tackle a home project that would have been impossible for her to really tackle on her own and all of it had this mega meaningful feeling, but in an understated and ordinary kind of way, or at least it was not a super showy and self-conscious way, and that captures a part of the Hoosier spirit that means the most to me. I don’t know if I can make that make sense to anyone but me. I can close my eyes and picture the clumps of trees and lush open fields and the sloping highway leading into Bloomington, as much as I can picture the 6 lanes of 96th street in Indianapolis, flat for miles, full of cars and strip malls and traffic lights and utility poles that stretch out to the end of your site line. Indy must have some of the longest yellow lights of anywhere I’ve ever been, which seems much more significant than it is.

I know I’ve talked and tried to talk about Indiana a bunch in my blog, tired to capture what the place means to me and how its shaped me and I am probably repeating myself. Yada, yada, yada. Today I just kept thinking about how there are people in Indiana to whom I belong, which is different from feeling a sense of belonging though not mutually exclusive. Some deep connection that’s grounded in pretty simple things that mostly have to do with “showing up” so to speak.



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