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I know better than to be fooled by the FEELING of spring in the air.

I live in Maryland–have most of my life–and I know even a mild winter such as how this one has felt can still produce some significant snowfall in the final six weeks of its season before the Vernal Equinox marks the welcome change.

Yet what a winter it has been. Mostly mild. We did have a beneficial (for killin’ dem bugs) and stern (reminder that winter is winter, and needs to be respected and prepared for as such) cold dip for a handful of days, but, overall, this winter has, to me, felt interestingly spring-like many days.

Unlike some, I don’t default to “global warming!” as the cause. It’s weather. And in an area that receives many an influence from the north, the south, the east and the west. It’s weather. It changes.

I remember a winter–I think it was 2002 into 2003–when it snowed and snowed and snowed, and snowed yet again. And unlike most Maryland winters where almost miraculously warm and sunny, or balmy and rainy days, often follow soon after the snowy days, this particular year it stayed cold much of winter with little break.

I remember the year of the ice, somewhere around 1996 or 1997, I think. It snowed. It sleeted. It snowed. It rained. It froze. And the ground was covered with ice for weeks on unending weeks. It was miserable.

Some winters are warmer. Some are colder. Some summers are wetter, some are drier. Some springs are rainier, some are pleasant-er. Some falls have many dark, cold, rainy days; others don’t. It’s Maryland.

everything was different

I find weather and climate have an interesting relationship to one’s sense of home. My bit of time living in the U.S.’s Mediterranean climate–both in San Diego and then San Francisco, the latter as a college student when I was a young gal in the city–had me regularly aware that I was somewhere different.

It wasn’t just that I *was* somewhere different, i.e. California vs. Maryland and my childhood homeland; it was that I was on different soil. My feet walked upon different land. The air was different. The day’s pattern and the region’s seasons felt different; everything always felt a bit foreign. Lovely, too. I mean, who doesn’t love living in sunny San Diego, with a culture, vibe and code all its own to match? Who doesn’t love being a 20-year-old, where everyday walking to work, to the grocery store or to the neighborhood cafe included witnessing the interesting-everywhere streets of San Francisco?

i need my red slippers

Yet it was the feeling beneath my feet that I could never reconcile. It was the feeling of the air, the texture of my skin. Being caught, again and again, with the wrong mix of clothes and layers–too warm, too cold, unprotected from the wind, not ready for the bone-penetrating fog–that kept knocking my sense of comfort out from under my feet.

I’m sure I could have adjusted if I wanted to or needed to; or if the place, the people, even the climate and land appealed to me more. I could have figured out how to dress in the right layers and have the right clothes, accessories, know-how and adaptation.

My sister has done just that. And well. Over 20 years I think it has she has been in Northern California, in the beautiful, culturally rich Bay Area. Permaculture, seed-saving libraries, emergency-preparedness, zero waste. All these things and more she endeavors in, finds community in and “fits” right in with others drawn to such values and expressions. (Plus she hates the cold and vowed never to live in a cold climate again, so this Bay Area choice works for her.)

But me? While there are many layers and many threads in the stories of our lives, and many reasons I came back to Maryland after my California (none of them particularly noble at the time), I know I’ve always felt more at home among the lush green of Maryland’s summers, its flower-filled springs and even its bipolar-like winters. Moist soil, humid (at times) air and a feeling of much biological activity around me feels like home.

I long for the southwest; its mountains, its big skies. I love to visit. And most every time I visit California (southern or Bay Area-ish) I wonder, yet again, if I’d rather live here. Yet, it’s this area, these patterns, this land, this air that feels like home to me.

What about you? What’s your home zone feel like to you?

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