Makes the heart grow fonder

I'm really trying to avoid starting every post with an excuse about why I don't post more often, but don't seem to be making a very good job of it. I always sort of assume that nobody actually reads this anyways, until I get a surprise complaint about how I haven't written anything in weeks. It's strange, like when people tell me they've heard me on the radio (an even more public activity that I usually treat like a private exercise).
In any case, I'm fully back in school mode, to the point where it's hard to imagine ever being out of it. I have a pretty light schedule in terms of actually having to show up for class (Tuesdays & Thursdays, plus one discussion section Wednesday), but that's balanced by taking two seminars that each require 300+ pages of reading a week. By the end of the semester, my eyes will either be buff, finely honed machines or weeping holes.
It's not even February yet, and I'm already sick to death of snow. It's hard not to view it as just a hassle, making the roads slippery, getting in my eyes. On the way home today, though, I slowed down and took the time to watch how softly the flakes settle down out of the sky, to recapture a little bit of the wonder snow awoke as a kid, in a place where it was rare enough that housewives got into scuffles over milk at the threat of a few inches.
I have such mixed feelings about the Midwest. Most of the time I feel smothered here, uncomfortable, like my edges are too sharp to be able to fit in. It was immensely reassuring to visit the East Coast and feel at home again, like maybe my problems are geographical rather than temperamental.
At the same time, though, I've gotten incredibly attached to the physical feel of this region, especially in winter. The flat, wide expanses and great gnarled oaks. Frozen lakes, dun fields, lurid pink sunsets and the moiré of snow blowing on pavement.
I miss mountains, sometimes, and the ocean so badly it hurts, but I have come to love the simple, generous, open space in this part of the world.
It's easy, though, to feel affection for a place I know I'll be leaving in just a few months. The expectation of absence, evidently, makes the heart grow fonder.
Which should not, in any way, be construed to mean that I'm not absolutely dying to get the hell out of this place.