There is a bridge -- a pair of bridges actually -- over the Mohawk River connecting Albany and Saratoga counties in upstate New York.
Its proper name is the Thaddeus Kosciusko Bridge, but everyone just says "the Twin Bridges."
Years pass now between opportunities to cross the Twin Bridges, but when I do, I know I'm home. It's a place that Thomas Wolfe will be forever remembered as having said you can't go to again.
I'm testing Mr. Wolfe's theory. At least, temporarily.
For the next six days, I'll be away from Chattanooga, visiting not one, but two places I call home.
Saratoga Springs, N.Y., where I lived from 1998 to 2005, feels like my home. Not my family's, just mine. I moved there for college when I was 18 and stayed until I was 25. It's the first place I put down any of my own roots, the last time I really had the kind of friendships that feel like family, the place I met the man I love. Saratoga is where I let go of being a child and came into my own.
This weekend is my 10-year college reunion. It's a chance to see old friends, to catch up, to see how far we've all come in the past decade. Cynically, it's also a chance to feel bad about our failures and our classmates' successes, or to gloat if the reverse is true. But I don't think that will be the case.
After that, it's down to the city (yes, that's New York City, and yes, those of us who are from there refer to it as "the city" because yes, New Yorkers really are that self-centered) to visit my family.
If Saratoga is the place I crossed the bridge into adulthood, New York (yes, the city, which trumps the rest of the state) is the path that led me there. It's where I was born, where I grew up, where my family still lives. It's the place I made my earliest mistakes and experienced some of my most traumatizing embarrassments.
Fortunately, enough time has passed that I hardly remember most of the traumas. Fortunately, it is also the place where I learned the first of a series of never-ending life lessons. It is not, I confess, the place I learned that you never stop learning. That's a lesson I keep having to remind myself of. I'm not always thrilled to be reminded that I don't know everything.
Like many young people, I was eager to leave home when the time came. It took me 10 years to miss New York. You know when I miss it most? In the winter. I don't think there's any place more beautiful than New York at Christmastime. Of course, that might just be absence making the heart grow fonder.
As the dog days of summer approach, you can't blame me for being homesick for snow.