I have been from sea to shining sea twice in the past thirty days–October on the Atlantic Ocean, and November on the Pacific. When we arrived home Sunday afternoon, having shared a lovely Thanksgiving week on the Oregon coast with dear friends, the bright sunshine spilled over my living room, welcoming me back. Then, again, there could be snow drifts outside the door, and I would still love being home. I am–we both are–homebodies by nature. Our long-time friends who we were with in Oregon, couldn’t believe we had committed to staying so long away. We are infamous for leaving in the middle of the night, once we have become overwhelmed by the need to be home. Twice, we have decided to rent a place in our beloved Santa Fe, for a full month in early Spring, when winter never seems to lose its grip, back at home. But, we’ve only made it three weeks, each time, overcome by homesickness. Friends often remark to me, “For two people who don’t like travel, you sure travel all the time!” Yes, we do–about a trip each month, somewhere. Usually, it’s because I get such heartache for my family that I must go to wherever they are, and, then, there are such lovely places in the world that keep sending out their siren’s call for me to come.
But, finding home, is why I began writing this blog in the first place. Growing up in Ohio, then living on each coast over the years, as well as cities in-between, I ended up in northwestern Montana, nearing the age of fifty, now a long twenty-three years ago. I’ve never been the one to choose where I would live, in my whole life–which seems so strange to acknowledge. But, maybe, it explains why once I landed in this beautiful place, over time, I put my own roots into the ground, and found home, at last, in Montana. Not that I don’t pick up realtor brochures in every lovely town we visit, and declare, “I know I could live here”! But, here, at the lake, is where I keep finding home. Not a home place, as described by Wallace Stegner, in which generations of family tilled the soil and lived out their lives, but a place ‘profoundly felt, deeply loved’, nonetheless.
“I wonder if ever again Americans can have that experience of returning to a home place so intimately known, profoundly felt, deeply loved, and absolutely submitted to? It is not quite true that you can’t go home again. I have done it, coming back here. But it gets less likely. We have had too many divorces, we have consumed too much transportation, we have lived too shallowly in too many places.”
Perhaps, finding home is as simple as being at one’s angle of repose, a scientific measurement of “the steepest angle at which sloping surface formed of a particular loose material is stable”.
Now, we are home for an entire month, before we are off to California to spend Christmas with the Golden State families. Today is a true November day, covered in slate gray clouds, rain and drizzle, cold, dreary, and still. Snow can’t be too far away, but likes to wait until December. It’s time to get the Christmas tree and decorate the house with lights and candles and fairy trees outside the windows. These are the darkest days we ever have, and the fire is lit by 4:00, the soup simmers on the stove, and it feels like ‘everything is waiting for you’, right inside my house.
Everything is Waiting for You–by David Whyte
Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.
Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.