Until recently, I always felt a bit embarrassed telling people I was from Potsdam. It was the uncool, clingy, friend at the party where you're trying to make a good impression. Not only did most people not recognize the particular segment of the geographically nebulous "Upstate New York," those who did typically reacted with the astute observation of its proximity to the Arctic and similar climate. In addition to having grown up there, I stayed and attended SUNY Potsdam, which always felt like a decision I had to defend the rationality of.
Two years ago I moved to Saratoga Springs, New York. Telling people you're from Saratoga is like saying you're dating Natalie Portman's younger, hotter, cousin. It's the bees knees. Ergo Saratoga pride is a easily cultivated sentiment; even if you didn't like it's charming Victorian warmth and plethora of things to do – from nightlife to outdoors to arts – you'd likely talk it up for the sake of the your intrigued listeners.
When I moved – perhaps unsurprisingly – I started to see the North Country and my hometown in a different light: a more scenic, endearing, bucolic light. The tree-climbing, frog-catching, and blackberry-picking days of my youth have blissfully endured, and every visit back is a refreshing reminder of the consistency of some things. This Labor Day Weekend's trip cemented my love for Planet Potsdam in a new way: sunsets, stargazing, snuggles with nieces & nephews...it centers me and brings me back to a placed of reinvigorated creative energy like little else. Currently I'm seated in a Airbus 332 waiting to liftoff for Honolulu, and the slight peeling on the tip of my nose is the only physical reminder of laying on Postwood Park's maple-butter -hued sand under a blindingly pale late summer last weekend; it's no Oahu, but knowing its appeal is appreciated only by myself and a few other natives is worth something.
Boarding's done! Traytables up kids. S'long mainland.