Last weekend, I visited the town I grew up in. It’s an idyllic place as you can see. Well, the old part of town is. The surrounding suburbs, on the other hand, are rather drab and depressing. Over the years, I am amazed to find I am never homesick. I miss nothing about this place, this community. Even though I made good memories here as well, they do not connect me with the geographical location, but rather with the people. And the two people who were most important to me – my grandma and my dad – are no longer there.
It’s amazing how this little town of 40’000 souls hasn’t changed at all during the last 25 years. All buildings and shops are still where they always were. The atmosphere is the same, the scents, the air, and the gossiping ladies who populate the benches and give all outsiders a thorough once-over. Even the plants in the park seem to be at precisely the same spot, in exactly the same size, sporting the same array of colors.
I only stayed one day, yet, like being caught in a vise, with every passing hour invisible walls seemed to steadily close in around me. When I was able to drive away in the evening, I breathed a deep sigh of relief, heading onwards, singing along with John Denver playing on the radio while passing through meandering valleys, wine yards, and forests, dreaming of wide open spaces, change, and new horizons.