(Y'all- Blogger got all pear-shaped on me and didn't store my Saturday post. In the interest of retaining every.single.last.bit of what I've written, I'm republishing it. Blogger also continues to eat the photos I try to put in the posts, so forget it.)
Is there someplace that you call "home"? I'm not talking about where it is you live right NOW, particularly; I'm thinking more along the lines of where it is that you are most comfortable, where your heart and soul feel "just right" and at peace.
I have a friend whose "home" is along the Block Island Sound in Rhode Island; a place of salt air and sea breezes and old hotels and sea grass, where you can still try to pull the brass ring at the carousel and walk down the block to get great french fries or ice cream. We went there last summer during an unseasonably cool day and dug sand fleas and skirted around a small pack of baby skunks who apparently had decided to run away from home and tried to learn to juggle (us, not the skunks).
There's another friend who, if I'm not mistaken, calls a part of the Canadian Rockies "home," and from what I've seen of the landscape it's a stunningly gorgeous place of soaring snow-capped mountains (and yes, they're rocky!). How he stands being away from such a beautiful place is beyond me; but I suspect that every time he goes "home" he takes a deep pull of mountain air into his lungs and exhales satisfaction. His parents still live there, and the pictures I've seen of the view from their yard are achingly gorgeous.
My "home," if you will, is somewhere in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I'm going there today, to see my brother, and I'm sure that the familiar calm and peaceful feeling will overtake me once I see the first green hill rise up. Where the land rises to form small valleys, and wee farms or houses are tucked into its folds and ridges, something settles down inside me and I feel like I really know where I am.
There's a mountain top in my brother's city to which you can drive. At the summit is an observation area with a huge deck jutting out from the side of the slope and the trees are cleared so you can look down on the valley. I love going up there and looking out over this improbably placed city, where waves of mountains rise toward the horizon, overlapping one another in ripples of green and gray. At night the city lights shine, bringing the edges of the mountains closer together, and boys and girls on dates or parents with their children or senior citizens with their memories gather to look down at the place they live, and I wonder if they know how lucky they are.
Tomorrow, when we drive out of the tail end of the gentle Blue Ridge, I'll look in my rear-view mirror and bid this "home" a fond goodbye, then ride the wide farmlands back to my front door.
And again I ask - do you have a place you call "home"?