I was born in hilly Williamsport, Pennsylvania but have spent most of my life in the super flat Cleveland area (where Cedar Hill is one of the first foothills of the Appalachian Mountains). When my parents moved to the condominium in the Cleveland suburb where I grew up, they told my siblings and me (and themselves) that we would be there only temporarily– a year at most–as my dad, a chemical engineer who designed factories for the company that employed him–would be transferred to a new location before too long.
I lived at this temporary home for 17 years expecting always to leave, seeing it as a way-stop on route to a more permanent home with a yard and space. Years passed and my mom stopped looking for a new house. I still waited for our move to a place where I would feel centered, rooted. When I was older, I left Cleveland temporarily for California, for France, for Cape Town, and then came back to northeastern Ohio.
I think that feeling of waiting for home– and of seeing the place I live as provisional — has become fundamental to my identity. Home shifts and flows, tears away, disappears and then is found. I think I’m a little bit vagrant.