One of the things that hit me fairly soon after I moved back to Michigan was that I had forgotten how to breathe.

Ironically, the air in Seattle is so much cleaner, so much purer, and so much more beautiful- objectively. The first time it rained in Michigan, I asked *h, “Do you smell that?” He scrunched up his nose, and I could tell he had no idea what I was asking. It smelled vaguely like the smell of water that had been sitting in a garden hose for too long, but just a tad bit worse. It was the smell of pollution, and to me it was glorious.

I inhaled deeply and said with a giant smile, “THAT is the smell of HOME!”

But I didn’t mean it to be funny.

I think that we all have those sort of visceral memories, and whereas to other people they may be icky or unpleasant to us they will evoke such wonderful things that to us they are simply the best. For me rain in Michigan is one of those things.

Yes, some people hear “Seattle” and their first thought is rain (I too was once one of those people). But in truth a Seattle rain is a gentle misty sort of affair that if you’ve ever been in a Midwest rain, can hardly be called rain at all. In fact, even in Seattle they have a term, called “Seattle-ing” for the spitting that comes from the sky and passes for rain out there. We were quite miffed to watch people walking around in the rain in Seattle without an umbrella, much less a jacket, until we realized that you could do this quite naturally without even hardly getting wet, since the rain was so gentle and, well, barely there.

In Michigan, however, the rain is like a lot of other things. It’s honest. It’s real. It’s right there up front and unmistakable. It’s like the sky is saying, “Oh you want rain? I’ll give you some rain!” And it does. Boom. In Michigan, with the weather like with the people, you know where you stand.

But this post isn’t actually about rain.

It’s about me.

It’s about the first time I realized that for the last year or two, I have been holding my breath.

Not literally of course, but a few weeks after we arrived in Michigan I was doing something very mundane and I realized that my breathing here was slower. It was deeper. It was more relaxed. In fact, my whole body was more relaxed. My whole Self was more relaxed.

In a thousand little ways I began to notice that I was less stressed here. That the things I didn’t do in Seattle (drive certain places, eat certain things), here I was doing with ease. That things which got on my last nerve in Seattle were less on my nerves in Detroit. That I had been chest-breathing and white-knuckling my way through my last stretch of time in Seattle like a death-row inmate and here I was breathing like a zen master.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still challenges in life. I am cold most of the time, and winter hasn’t even set in yet. I am not being so good about keeping in touch with friends from Seattle, even though there are some I am grateful to for their kindness while we were there. I have about a zillion new doctors I still need to find and make appointments with.

But overall I give our move to Detroit an enthusiastic thumbs up.

Now the question is, what in the world will I blog about?