Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Miner's Lady, Stranger to Blue Water

If we ever got a boat, I would name it "Miner's Lady". It's from the West Virginia anthem "Country Roads", and it's rather ironic given the lyric that follows: "stranger to blue water". The chances of us getting a boat are either slim or none because a) we don't know anything about boating and b) if we ever had a vacation retreat it would definitely be in the mountains not on a lake.

A few years ago I wrote a blog about Michiganders and their penchant for going "up north". I didn't get it then, and I don't get it now. I start to feel itchy if I spent too much time in Michigan, and nine times out of ten I'm ready to head south. Anywhere south, but preferably West Virginia. 

I travel all over Michigan for work, and I love discovering and rediscovering towns I love. Last week I headed to Midland, Michigan for a conference. Midland is home to Dow Chemical, and Dow has invested significantly in the community to attract and retain talented employees from all over the world. It was my first time in Midland, and it was lovely. The downtown is filled with cute stores, restaurants, coffee shops. We attended a minor league baseball game just east of downtown. New development is connecting the various neighborhoods near downtown, and it was inspiring.

But I knew I was heading to West Virginia for the weekend, and by Friday morning I was antsy about leaving Midland and traveling on those country roads that take me to the place I belong.  Morgantown, West Virginia is my happy place. It's my most relaxed place. It's where I feel the most at home. It was a short trip (getting there late on Friday and leaving mid-day Sunday), but spending time with family in one of my favorite cities was exactly what my spirit needed to heal.

My recovery from my surgeries is still much slower than I would like. To be honest my body probably could've used a weekend relaxing without traveling. But my mind would've been restless, and I was feeling that pull to go south. I can't ignore it. Maybe this is how a lot of Michiganders feel about going up north - they feel that pull of home and childhood and comfort. I respect it. 

We'll be heading to Morgantown several times this fall for football games and to spend Christmas with my family. As I continue to heal both physically and mentally, I'll need that connection to my happy place. Maybe I'll never have a boat with the world's most awesome name, but I do have a connection to one of the best small towns I could imagine visiting.

Tailgating with the hubs in 2013.

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