Missing Michigan, finding home in Tennessee


A song came on a randomly selected playlist over the second, Half Acre by Hem.

I am holding half an acre
Torn from the map of Michigan
And folded in this scrap of paper
Is a land I grew in

The song takes me back to Michigan.

Biking with my wife Katie at Hawk Island. Biking on the rail-trail near Saranac, 30 minutes from Lansing but a world away. Night, absolutely freezing bike rides a campfire and beers at Rose Lake. Camping with my parents. Camping with Katie on Lake Michigan. And onn Lake Superior. My son being born on a snowy February night.

For awhile, Katie said it hurt her to think about Michigan—missing it as much as she did. We moved there for me to attend graduate school, but leaving it hurt me, too. I remember driving back to Knoxville around the second year we moved in Knoxville suppressing the thoughts and feelings I had. I had to move on.

Now it hurts less, if at all. Not Hawk Island, Saranac, Rose Lake, and the Great Lakes, but Seven Islands, Third Creek, Big South Fork, and the Smokies. They are not the same, but maybe that is the point: new places with old, new friends with old friends, new memories atop the old memories.

But I am holding half an acre
Torn from the map of Michigan
I am carrying this scrap of paper
That can crack the darkest sky wide open
Every burden taken from me
Every night my heart unfolding
My home