Sunday, June 1, 2008

My God This Place is Green (Goodbye, Dublin)

After 2 days of driving form Providence, I was relieved to see the familiar Avery-Muirfield exit off of Route 161.
  • Excessive display of opulence in the form of a fountain on the highway exit--check.
  • Expensive car dealership--check
  • Stoplight--check
And as I perfunctorily checked off my list of familiar landmarks along Muirfield Drive, six words rose to my lips and I felt as if I'd finally opened my eyes and really seen my hometown:


When John Sells arrived on that patch of land in central Ohio, he named in Dublin because the verdant fields reminded him of his own home, Ireland. My guess is that he was filled with awe when he arrived on that plot of grass. It sounds tacky, but I think I got a taste of that feeling as we drove down the main drag of town.

When I've brought up this feeling with family and friends, they all ask the same question, "Don't you have grass in Rhode Island?" The answer is "yes," but it's different in Dublin. In New England, there are trees and lawns, but it's all interspersed among buildings and statues and people and busses. In short, New England (or urban New England, to be precise) is filled with stuff. In my Ohio suburb, the green stretchs on uninterrupted for what seems like miles. Driving along the curved roads and rounding the traffic circles feels like a long, satisfying yawn.

I'm writing this on the airplane as I depart for my first post-college job. A year ago, this entry would have ranted about how the unnaturally green lawns were the result of an appalling lack of biodiversity and excessive fertilizer use. I'd rage at the ridiculous building codes that require us to paint our basketball hoops the same color as the trim on our houses. I still believe these things. The difference is, I'm no longer afraid of never leaving the state. But there's no reason to feel bitter anymore. I'm free and I'm never moving back. I finally see Dublin as my parents see it--a beautiful, vibrant, and chemically-enhanced green.

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