With permission, Thomas Wolfe took the title of his posthumously published novel, “You Can’t Go Home Again,” from another author. However, the discovery by his main character is one that we all face as adults. The home of our childhood no longer exists. The house may be smaller and more tired than remembered. The rough, ragged softball diamond etched by pounding feet is overgrown with red osier and poplar saplings. It would require a death wish to bicycle the centerline on what once was a secondary road, much less to do so while steering with your knees and your hands outstretched like a rollercoaster ride. Your “posse” has long departed for higher pay, greater challenges, or maybe just a new view out the window.
On the other hand, on a clear, cool, autumn night in The County, Orion seems close enough to be an actual companion as you tramp across an open field and he tramps across the velvet-black sky. The bear family, Ursa Major and Minor, pinwheel around Polaris. It will not be much longer before the aurora borealis both sings and dances over the northern horizon.
By day, the dark emerald of evergreens are punctuated with brilliant red, yellow, and orange blazes of maples, birch, and tamarack that twine around bodies of water shimmering crystalline blue. Regardless of how many times you cross a high ridge, the view understandably makes you pause, maybe just for a few seconds or maybe for a longer, deeply satisfying visit with these familiar, unchanging friends from your youth.
Most commonly, nostalgia arrives with a smile. How excited were you as a small child racing around through hundreds of pumpkins in a field or at a farm stand hunting for The Perfect One to carve? Did your family decorate the walkway, doors or lamp posts with bundles of rustling corn stalks in autumn? Do you remember your family home filled with the fragrance of roasting vegetables or cinnamon-spiced pies in the fall? What about a traditional Thanksgiving centerpiece made from gourds and colored leaves? The smell of harvest, a nip in the air, fog veining through river valleys as the sun appears in the east all harken you back to your youth.
If you are smart, you will not resist this undertow. You will embrace those memories, scents and views. You will enjoy and build on your memories.
Visit the Presque Isle Farmers Market at Riverside on a Saturday between 8:30 am and 1:00 pm. Humor your childhood urge to race (or saunter) from vendor to truck to trailer to display, seeking out The Perfect One. PIFM members offer both white and bright orange pumpkins to be decorated with faces or baked in a pie, warty gourds, golden cornstalks and root vegetables.
However briefly, you can indeed go home again.
The Presque Isle Farmers’ Market president for the 2018 season is Deena Albert-Parks of Chops Ahoy Farm in Woodland. For information about participating or visiting the market, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.