Living here again is like learning a new verse to an old song.

I know this town, but only partly. That’s not just because the streetscape has changed, but also because I was a child during my past Kenosha life.

When a neighbor told me about a farmer’s market near Mount Carmel, I had to look it up on a map. I think I played volleyball at Mount Carmel once, but mom dropped me off.

It’s been a little over a month since I officially moved here from the Washington, D.C., area, and about 28 years since I was a Kenosha resident.

Now that we’re settled, my family and I have begun to explore.

One of the first things we did was hike the Kenosha Dunes. Now and again, childhood memories will pop out of nowhere. But as I walked the sandy path among the prairie grasses, I struggled to remember if I had been there before.

A neighbor told me about the Red Witch, the tall wooden ship that gives tours on Lake Michigan. I immediately bought tickets for a sunset sail.

The water was calm and seemed to blend with the soft pink-blue horizon. Gently floating away from shore, my daughter and I decided we needed a new word for pleasant.

The next day, we saw juried photography at the Anderson Arts Center, where a stunning shot of Pets in winter made my throat catch. I may regret saying this come February, but oh, how I have missed a proper Wisconsin winter!

The ladies at the art center suggested we tour the Durkee Mansion at Kemper Center. There, we learned about one of the town’s oldest buildings and the civic leader who once owned it. We were invited to return at Christmastime; caretakers spend a full month decking the halls.

Not wanting to limit myself to tourist attractions, I’ve also attended some community events, including a public meeting at the Southport Beach House, where I met the mayor and my alderman; and Harborfest, a showcase of local service agencies held at the Kenosha Regional Airport.

On a whim, I took a brief helicopter ride over farmland and country roads. I was then treated to a joyous rendition of “Try everything,” sung acapella by the Parkside Range.

They say you can’t go home again. You can, but you may want to pace yourself.

On Sept. 24, I made it to the lakeshore in time to watch the sunrise on a clear day. I was early to the beach, so I waited. Birds hovered into the wind, over an uproar of waves, while a couple on a park bench snuggled. An older woman walked past briskly, carrying her coffee.

Then, in a matter of minutes, the sky turned the color of an orange creamsicle, as a blinding yellow sun slowly crested over the dark, churning water. I snapped a few photos.

Then I paused, to watch and to breathe.

I said to myself, “This is how new days are born.”

Amy Ambrose is a local freelance writer. Look for her column monthly in Forum.

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