Different Worlds

Salt Lake City, Utah, and the Oquirrhs beyond

I love Utah.

I don’t ski. I’m not LDS. But I love Utah.

There’s something powerful about living in a desert that was made to bloom by the sheer faith of those who chose to inhabit it.

And yet, with as much as I loved Utah, in the three years I was there, it never really felt like home.

Of course, having moved about every three years for my entire life up to this point, I don’t have a strong sense of home. But I have faith that I’ll know it when I find it.

Utah was incredible, but it wasn’t home.

Already, just three weeks here, Massachusetts feels more like home than Utah. In some ways, it’s more difficult to love. There are so many people here. It’s difficult to live according to my stated ideals here. I have to drive a lot more than I’d like (and the roads seem designed to disorient any traveler from outside). So far, none of the people I’ve met keep chickens or gardens or, to my knowledge, have food storage.

Sunset at Uhlman's Ice Cream, Westborough, Massachusetts.

But when I reach a rise in the land and look out over the ocean of trees and the rolling hills, I feel a sense of peace. When I visit Boston and feel the energy of the city and the warmth of the people (yes, I find Boston to be a very friendly city) and the spirit of coming together that the stories of the Revolution inspire, I feel welcomed.

I liked that there weren’t many people in Utah, but at the same time, I found it incredible isolating. I would go up to the benches and look out over the valley and feel anxious. There were mountains and desert and a very thin strip of habitable land in between. I often felt ready to hyperventilate surveying the landscape. I loved the grid upon which the roads are based there, but at the same time, I longed to drive contrary to the cardinal directions, and perhaps even to—gasp!—drive roads that curved and defied numbering.

We’ve been planning to live in the Boston area for years. When we moved from North Carolina in 2003, we had the choice between Boston and California. We chose California. When we moved from California in 2008, all of the signs were pointing towards us moving to Boston then, but we move to Utah instead. Now that we’re finally here, it feels right, but in a way, it also feels like we’ve just been waiting to be here. It’s almost like Utah was just a stopover on our way to Boston.

But how can that be? I bore and birthed a child in Utah. I walked the streets of the city and the trails in the mountains. I ate the foods grown there, the vegetables and the fruits, the eggs and the meat. I shared my joys and sorrows with friends, ate in their homes, and fed them in mine. Utah has had a profound effect on me. How can it feel like merely a diversion on the path to another destination when Utah has marked me so deeply?

2 Replies to “Different Worlds”

  1. *sigh* this makes me nostalgic for “home.” I lived in Boston for the shortest period of my adult life, yet it still feels like home to me. I left it 17 years ago for the SF Bay Area and, while I’m settled here, I miss Boston. I can’t put my finger on it, either. Boston feels comfy.


  2. I often feel I could keep the location where I am and move more of my family here. That’s probably similar to what you are feeling. Move some familiar people to you but live in Boston not SLC.
    I’m glad to here you like it and things are settling in.
    Happy 4th of July!


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