Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Escape from Mathews: Part One
When I was 19 or 20, I might have looked at this picture and said, "So what?" Now I look at it and want to smell that marsh; I marvel at the beauty of that dead tree; and I want to run to that barn, press my cheeks against it and tell it how much I love it. Yeah, I'm a little bit weird, but my point is my opinion of things, especially Mathews, has changed so much over the years.
Recently I discovered a gold mine of information next door at my parents’ house: a bunch of old college and high school essays and my scrap book from senior year in high school. It appears that I’ve been writing about Mathews my entire life and just never realized it. It also appears that my opinions of Mathews have fluctuated drastically depending on how old I was when I was doing the writing.
Below is the first segment (in excerpts because some of the writing is even worse than my normal stuff) of an essay I wrote my second year of college. I am embarrassed at some—OK, most—of it, because I no longer feel this way. In fact it is as if some Other Person wrote it.
Escape from Mathews County
With Apologies in Advance to Anyone Living Here Because I Was a College Brat. I Blame Hormones. Just Like I Do Now.
“Mathews County is a boring name for a boring place. I realize this now, but there was a time when I thought Mathews and its inhabitants were great. I thought I could live there for the rest of my life and be happy. Not until I went away to college did I discover how very wrong I was. “
“...Very few people move into the county from other places. Why should they? There’s nothing to do there, and unfortunately very few of the natives move out because they’re so isolated from the rest of the world they fail to see there is a different way of life. They are opposed to change and progress; they are very naive.”
-Chesapeake Bay College Brat
If I were writing this today, the title would be “Escape TO Mathews County,” and I’d talk about how much I love living here precisely because it is a boring—but beautiful—place with a slow pace of life, small town ideals, and the nicest people on the planet. We do have more people moving here from other places, so there is more of a diversity of backgrounds. There might not be much of the typical things to do here like shop at Target or eat at the Cheesecake Factory, but there is plenty to do if you’re creative and you appreciate the beauty of nature. People are still opposed to change and progress, but that's not a bad thing. They are anything but naïve.
There’s plenty more to this essay that I’ll share in bits and pieces.
Just to be clear, in spite of what I wrote when I was in college, I’m hopelessly in love with Mathews and its people. I will never leave again.
Except to go to the Cheesecake Factory and Target.