One of the things I was most looking forward to coming home was taking advantage and appreciating the natural beauty New England has to offer. Growing up here I didn't have a sense or a good reason to like the place I lived in; I was born here and I didn't have a choice about growing up here, but moving back was my choice. A friend of mine who also moved back home after a few years said she's happier now that she has learned to love this place and make it her own.
I find myself looking at maps of the North Shore like I've never seen this place before...and many parts of it I haven't. Many other places I haven't visited in 10 or so years. Today I saw Chebacco Lake marked on the map in Essex and recalled going there with my mom and grandparents as a child. I had felt like it was two hours away when in reality it's about a 20-minute drive. We took Maya to the shoreline today and coaxed her to wade in but she's a southern Californian pup who seems to prefer the tumultuous waters of the great Pacific over the suspiciously clam waters of the lake disturbed only by the equally suspicious splashes made by big schools of fish.