Monday, August 5, 2013

Carrying Home

A couple weeks ago we felt Summer pulling her breaks and it hit me - we hadn't been to Ohio since May.

Trag. Ic.

So I loaded up the kids and we went. We stayed for 5 days. And it still doesn't feel like Summer fully happened, but those 5 days went a long way toward recalibrating our souls for whatever happens next.

Internet and phone service was as spotty as ever. Temps were chillier than we'd planned. I finally caught a sliver of the virus weaving its way through our family.

We had the time of our lives.

Because there's just something about going home.

I know I talk excessively about going home, but it can't be helped. Something happens when I go. It's an almost  tangible thing. It's a feeling I can conjure up, a feeling I can carry around for a while.

I think it might be rare. Maybe it's a wild stroke of luck. I don't know.

Some things have stayed the same. Some things are different.

I spent my early years banging around in that dusty barn, riding my banana bike around the familiar curve in the road, running the yard, slow-poking around all bored and hot.

That's how I lived Summer back then.

I didn't care about pretty flowers when I was eight or twelve. I didn't have a clue about what I had.
It was simply home, and it hugged me right.

Every time I go back, my roots grab tighter.
And this is what I want for my children.

I always used to think the only way to replicate this sureness was through acreage and trees.

But here I am, on my treeless, wonky plot of city land.
It feels like home and I can almost hear our roots clawing down through the clay.

Our heritage follows us wherever we go. It's wound into the fibers of our hearts and minds.
We get a lot of this, a little of that.

And the summers of this season don't match up completely, but if we squint our eyes it almost feels like a ringer.

Going home reminds me of who I am right now. It gives context to my world that sometimes feels unmanageable, inconvenient, and just plain hard. Going home isn't a departure from this life, it's a part of it. It's not about then/now. It's about a story. My story. Chapters end, but the book never does.

All those years shaped the me that looks out tonight at a row of beat-up houses, so close I could grab them.

All that space taught me that country living is a state of mind. I can clip zinnias and pickle a cuke as easily here as there.

All that freedom, all that permission to try, all that acceptance in failure, all that faith, all that faith showed me that the only way to live at all is by doing the work scripted just for me.

Those are gifts I can give to Calvin, Ruby, Silas. It's not even too late for Robert or Haven. I can give those gifts in the city.

And when they move to the prairie or the mountains or the grittiest corner on the globe, I hope they'll see that what matters most goes with them.

And I hope they'll know they can always come home.