I’ve been listening to this song and watching this video a lot lately.
No, I’m not Scottish. Ancestrally, I’m more Irish than anything else, but I grew up in Central New York.
(I have, however, lost the friends I needed losin’ and found others on the way. I’ve also kissed a few girls and made a few cry, though thankfully the two actions weren’t related.)
I’ve spoken before about my youth in Camden, NY. About my desperate need to escape. To get out, get anywhere.
Well, I did. I may not have reached the Shining Horizon yet, but I made it all the way to New York City…which isn’t actually all that far from Camden in terms of physical distance (about a five-hour train ride), but in other ways, this huge, thriving, cosmopolitan city is on the other end of eternity from that tiny, dying town.
Leaving was the right thing to do. As I said, Camden is dying and probably was even then. New York is alive, with shows and music and art and good food and great adventures and work.
I love this city. I really do. But it’ll wear you out. Jesus, how it’ll wear you out. You have to work hard just to keep even in this city, and while no one can ever do everything there is to do here in one lifetime, there’s no point in living here if you don’t try. It’s exhausting. And not just exhausting; go too long and you start to get wound tighter and tighter until…what? What are your options, really?
You just want to go home.
You’re tired, and you’re wound too tight, and you want to go someplace where there are open spaces and stars at night. You just want. To go. Home.
That’s why that song speaks to me right now, even if I’ve never been to “Caledonia” and probably never will. Because more than any one place, it’s about going home.
So that’s where I’m going for the next week, starting tomorrow. I’m getting on the train and I’m heading upstate, to my home. To both homes, the house on Panther Lake and St. Lawrence University. I need both. I need to draw my strength from both. It’s been too long.
With all that in mind, posting will be a little light next week. The Hometown posts will go up at their usual times, but don’t count on hearing anything else from up my way. I’ll be back on Monday the 26th with stories to tell.