This I Believe

Bradley - Providence, Rhode Island
Entered on October 30, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: carpe diem
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Finding New England

Being a recent transplant to New England, I had always had notions of rolling hills, fall foliage, crisp, fresh air and the nostalgia of a simpler way of life. I must note that I am from Pennsylvania and we have those things but I always thought of New England as the archetype for these ideas. I guess I should state that I moved to Providence and that is considered southern New England and maybe not the ‘true” New England that everyone thinks of, but it is still New England. I had moved here for graduate school and was quickly in my bubble of studio work, critiques and pseudo intellectual philosophizing and soon realized that New England was like anywhere else. The hustle of everyday life, a giant mall, political corruption and really horrible drivers were things I had experienced everywhere else I had been. That soon bummed me out a bit and wondered where was the New England I thought about. Where was the little lobster roll shack, or the picturesque church in the town square where at Christmas everyone gathered to sing Christmas carols and drank hot chocolate? It dawned on me when one day driving to Maine with my new New England native girlfriend that I was looking for the essence of what I thought New England was. I believed in an ideal. Not the ideal that postcards presented to me, but the ideal that there was a special essence the made New England, New England. This epiphany (if you want to call it that) was not tangible though because I still did not know exactly what it was, but it was there, in my head and my heart when I looked out the window as I drove to Maine for the first time. I believe in an ideal because I could see it and almost manifest it into words, but it escaped my lips in the cool, crisp Maine air. I believed in the ideal almost because I had to. I wanted to feel and manifest that nostalgia and see where those Currier and Ives prints came from. As I sat on a cool, black driveway taking a break from playing with my girlfriend’s little Maine cousins, I witnessed them against the rolling, snow dusted, and barn dotted countryside. There it was, New England and then I realized New England is everyplace. The ideal I believed in and saw was a simpler life, an appreciation of life and all the good and bad things that go along with it. My search for an ideal also ended up as a search for a sense of home. The sense of home I found was somewhere in what was considered New England. When I imagined my future as an artist, husband, father and general appreciator of life, I could only see it here. There is an ideal of New England, but it is not always found on a postcard or in a James Taylor song, but they sometimes help. I believe the ideal I found I can see every time I see the autumn leaves blow across the road or simply, when I am in the local market. In the search for the ideal of New England it led me to believe that ideals help in the search for hope that there is always something good in our future or around the next bend in the country road.