"there is nothing like a returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered."
It's not that Hanford hasn't changed since I've been gone- there are new buildings and others are gone. It's not that the people haven't changed- past students and children of friends have grown up. It's just that it still seems like the place I once knew and lived a good life in. It's still been here, life going on, and I haven't been And I keep having this out-of-body experience where I pause to stare my old self in the face. I'm looking into the eyes of the newlywed who didn't have kids, whose husband was usually gone, and who knew life a different way than I know it now. I drive roads I remember driving every day and think "Wow. I'm not the same girl." You know what I mean- I'm still me but I hadn't yet lived through certain life experiences and had a different home/job/friend's/church/everything. It's similar to the feeling when you come home for a visit after leaving for college. I tell my students who graduate to always look around before they leave home for the last time before heading off to college because it will never feel the same again.
Leaving changes the way a place feels. And yet that place can still feel like home. And I find I appreciate it so much more the second time around. Hanford/Fresno really is a good place to be.
Aside from the air quality. Ha! But who needs to breathe?