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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Mt Holyoke chapter.

Mandevilla pink tints my memories of delirious dusks developing in the cool liquid of hot summer nights and hangouts by the Sunset Club. I like the seconds just after the sun sets, when the softest chalks decorate a horizon peppered with lobster boats, neon buoys, and mergansers cutting across the dying light of day. Cotton candy blankets the two of us, barefoot with sand in our clothes and fingers sticky with ice cream sweetness still around our mouths and the last words of a perfect day frozen on our tongues as the sky paints our bodies pink. Close your eyes and the light is still there, pressing its rosy fingerprint to your retinas, a stamp marking itself like the bold silhouette of the Pink House against the salt marsh. Postcard to a place that twists in and out of being home, as elusive as the clouds the sun sets behind, wisping and waning and finally slipping away into the infinite pool of summer stars.

Coming home always feels like shaking water out of my ears. Everything feels clearer, sharper, and more precious than before. Hummingbirds at the feeder. Morning fog rolling over the Crane Neck field where Canada geese nest and swans paddle about in the distant beaver pond. The blooms of our hydrangea bush. Choruses of peepers, cicadas, crickets, and foraging squirrels ch-ch-ch-ing in the trees. Water guzzling in the stream like the rubber band croak of a bullfrog. A bluegrass group playing Neil Young at the bandstand. The last dash to Scoop’s, always just before it closes. 

I’m cupping my town and all that it is to my chest, stripping it down to its binaries. Farmland and barns. Corrals of tail-twitching horses. Wild-flowered fields which vagabond deer will grace. A town with just two stop lights, absolutely quiet at night, save for the sounds of the woods. A downtown that’s only a tiny cluster of Food Mart, House of Pizza, post office, and the church where I did Sunday School. All clustered together like link-handed friends, the only bit of industry for miles. The rest is only grass, fields, marsh, farmhouses, and colonial cottages built in the 1700s. The reservoir with its Kool-Aid water, so pure it’s not for swimming, where we’ve watched strawberry moons, satellites, and meteors through the sunroof. Watched as they passed over the Christmas trees at Maple Crest that wait patiently for the holidays when families bundled in scarves will cut down trees, cup cider in mittened hands, skate at Mill Pond, and sled down the Pipestave hills. 

And the fall where the little town is cocooned in leafy garlands of red and gold, everything smelling of sweet decomposition. Haunted hay rides, harvest moons, every farm stand overflowing with pumpkins, corn, grain, and gourds that will decorate and nourish every house. 

Until spring. My town is where spring is truly felt and seen, where the transition between burnt brown hills to fiddleheads and crocuses is so noticeable because there’s so much of it that’s absent in the winter and then reawakened in kaleidoscope blooms. I go on walks to nowhere in particular, because every place I go is green and rich, spacious and full of life. I don’t know how long it will be that way. ‘FOR SALE’ signs keep sprouting up like ugly weeds, uprooting the trees and fields with their monolithic condos that stand unfamiliarly against mossy stone walls and clapboard houses. The clock ticks out of time with the cicadas. They can’t keep up with this industrial germination.

So I’m tattooing the landscape to my heart. Our garden hung excessively with bird feeders. A garden that isn’t quite a garden but simply things that happened to spring up and enjoy each other’s company. The sea of ferns that stretches far into the woods, our house harbored in the eye of it, the tree arms bending overhead and joining hands to hold me in their leafy cusp, like I’m something they want to protect. Our moss-covered steps and walkway sprung up with weeds that we can never keep away. The lamp post. The bat box. The bee house. The bird’s nests. We share our home with so many others. 

I like the kinds of sentences that lend themselves inherently to poetry. The combination of woodchuck, skunk grass, and lichen that’s effortlessly lyrical due to no prose of mine, but simply something in their nature. They are beautiful for what they are, not what any pen can make them. Even hornets and mosquitos have a kind of musicality. And I think that’s what this scrappy little town is. The parcel of it which I’ll cradle at night, miles away on a college campus, so far from the coast and the smell of salt in the air. Yet I carry home with me still. Home is the sound of my mother’s voice over the phone, the sprinkle of crocuses outside the Art Building, the low call of a mourning dove outside my window; paint chippings of my childhood collected in images and sounds, conjuring disparate images of home no matter how far from it I am. Maybe my mailing address has changed — the one I’ll put on my letters. But I know my heart will always be stamped home to 01985. 

Sarah Grinnell

Mt Holyoke '26

Hi! My name is Sarah, and I am a sophomore at Mount Holyoke with a prospective double major in English and studio art. I love to read (Jane Austen is one of my faves <3), write, paint, and watch movies and cartoons, and I'm super geeky for all things fantasy and sci-fi