“On Fridays, the flannel family rides the ferry to the pumpkin patch to pick the perfect pumpkin.”
Both of my sisters were home for the weekend, and following my brother’s suggestion, we had just arrived at the local pumpkin patch across the river. Naturally, before we could select our pumpkin, we decided to find our way through the corn maze. Not just once, but twice, and three times in the case of Evan and me. At first, we took a couple of wrong turns and ended up in a few dead ends. But each time we went around, the turns became more familiar, and we anticipated what the path would look like. The second time through, just my brother and I dashed off, trying to see how quickly we could make it through the maze. Our final lap was a little more leisurely. Our whole family walked together, playing copycat and taking a moment to enjoy the beautiful weather and time to spend with each other.
Spending these past few months at home has been a little like running through that corn maze. At first I felt a little lost. How should I spend my time? How do I tackle these new opening responsibilities at the candy store? I experimented between packing my schedule and leaving it wide open. I asked questions at work, made a few mistakes, and observed what was working best. It’s still a trial and error process, but every day life has settled into a routine, and days have become a little more predictable.
I appreciate the familiarity. Having spent most of my life in Williamsburg, I should know it pretty well. From well-worn running routes to the thrilling twists and turns of Alpengeist, from casual ambles down Colonial Williamsburg’s main drive to knowing exactly how long it will take me to walk from the employee parking lot to the front door of the candy store, I do feel quite at ease in my hometown. I currently have a post-grad normal, and it’s comfortable.
Ironically, the comfort I’m experiencing now makes the idea of moving to Pittsburgh a little scary. Having only been to the city once before, I’ll be relying on Google Maps to get me everywhere I need to go. I’ll have to get used to four-way stops and navigating the intricate web of interstate exits. I’ll discover new coffee shops, grocery stores, and the nearest Panera. Perhaps the new tasks at work right now are preparing me for a new job entirely, where I’ll go from answering everyone’s questions at work and giving directions to tourists to becoming the question asker. It will take time before I’m settled in a new routine, but as scary as this new transition will be, I’m curious about what’s next.
I know that just by being in a new city—let alone a new state—I’ll learn something new about the way the world works, gain a new perspective, and figure out a thing or two about myself that I didn’t know before. Maybe I’ll take a wrong turn or two, but maybe one of those wrong turns will lead me to a fun coffee shop or ice cream store. And another might be a dead end, but at least I’ll know not to go down that street again.
While I can’t explore Pittsburgh just yet—and not having a timeline is driving me crazy—it’s been fun to take advantage of other travel opportunities that I might not otherwise have. Whether it’s visiting Abby in Greensboro or returning to JMU for homecoming, each day has been a fun new adventure, even if it isn’t the fall I expected.
“The best way out is always through.” –Robert Frost