All my life I've lived without getting homesick. As a kid, I loved sleepovers and trips. I never missed my family. I wasn't sad about not being in my own bed. I was never homesick.

When I moved to Tennessee for college, I started to get a different but related illness called homeproud. That's different from homesickness in that it is characterized not by melancholy feelings of longing and wistfulness, but rather by its strong feelings about the superiority of your home to this other place. Tennessee was hot and humid (and later I would find out that it also got very cold and humid), there were no mountains anywhere, the bugs were huge and noisy and included disgusting creatures like cockroaches, the people that lived there would talk to you as if they were not complete strangers... I didn't like this place, at least not in comparison to the Northwest that I had left behind. But still, I wasn't homesick. Just homeproud.

After college I moved back home to Portland, Oregon. While I was there, I saw this sign advertising the state fair:

That's Oregon, I thought, nestled there among the other great states of the Northwest: the Evergreen state (Washington), the Gem state (Idaho), the Treasure state (Montana)... The Northwest is really the land of my longings.

Now I live in Michigan and I've realized that every place has its charms, and I try to live presently within each day and not always be reaching forward or backward for something else. But there are days when the air is different here---when the sky is gray and the earth is dark and fresh, when every shade of green is ringing out from budding leaf and springing blade of grass, when the air is clean and smelling of fir, when the songbirds sing familiar tunes and rain feels close--- There are days like that, days when my Northwest home seems so close. Those are the days that I miss it the most.

I'm homesick.