Originally posted two years ago on July 21, 2010, eight months after we moved to the Magic City and just days after we finally began to move our things in to our newly renovated Birmingham Bungalow. I love to look back from time to time, to reflect on how both I and the city have changed…
It’s been a while.
Birmingham, you have no idea what I’ve been up to.
Moving boxes - they’re both exciting and exhusting.
But more on those in a minute…
When we pulled in to Jones Valley exacty eight months ago, I had no idea that this would be a place I would become so enamoured with. I guess I thought it would be just another place to hang all of my beloved hats. Well, even Bear Bryant could appreciate that believing in a place and in a people (and maybe being a little hard on them from time to time) could be the very ingredient necessary for success. I’ve come to believe that there’s a diamond in the rough here in this rugged terrain that is our Birmingham.
Truth of the matter is, I’ve had to learn a lesson or two so that I could see her (Birmingham) clearly.
Allow me to make a few points…
Do I think Birmingham is better off because I am here? Indeed, I do. (I choose to believe in Birmingham. And my son is here. And he believes in Birmingham.)
Do I think Birmingham has problems, inferiorities, illusions? Uh huh, yeah.
Is Birmingham on the brink of disaster, like so many people have urged me to believe? No, not a chance.
Quite the contrary.
Okay, here’s the deal: For the last eight months I’ve been ranting and raving (and sometimes endearing upon) Magic City discoveries and curiosities. I had to find something to keep me busy as that wretched, rainy winter passed on, as I was camping out over the mountain(s) and through the woods, as we searched for and then worked on restoring our very own Birmingham bungalow. So I started exploring the City and its people. What, I wondered, was lurking in this bowl that was once clouded with black fumes and gusts of fleeing white winds? What could possibly be appealing here? A lot, in fact.
Confession: I stumbled in to town with an assumption that this return to Sweet Home Alabama would be a death sentence. Every now and then I still feel a shudder from that chip on my shoulder. I, too, get wrapped up in the negativity and the frustration and the disregard. I sometimes allow those popular “perceptions” to pervade what I know is “exactly where we are and need to be, here and now”. I can’t help it. ‘Tis human nature to get…distracted. And maybe it wasn’t just the move that’s kept me quiet. A little bit of uncertainty about this place has silenced that wandering spirit. It’s taken some time to get used to what it means to live in Birmingham.
And I suppose that’s what I’ve been so consumed with. Maybe I needed to feel my roots lock in before I could really set out to see Birmingham. This is my city now. Mine to explore and find shade in and grow in to.
Alas, the time has finally come when we are planting roots. We are settling in to a hillside bungalow overlooking rivers of railroad and steel mill. We’re unpacking slowly. We’re taking our time because there’s no rush… we know we’ll be here for a while.
Thank you for your patience, Magic City friends. Now, let the adventure begin…