Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time searching.
Searching for some place, something, some smell, or sight or sound, a taste, a song, anything that feels like home.
Nearly seven years I’ve lived here.
I know my way around.
I know these places better than anywhere else in the world.
I know people, and they know me.
There is almost nowhere I can go without seeing someone I know.
But there are still some places, sometimes.
Two days ago I turned my music down at a stoplight.
Yesterday, I found a new favorite spot.
Today I hiked a while, somewhere familiar. A place I know.
But it doesn’t feel like home.
I act like I am home.
The music, the love of places, knowing people, places, shortcuts.
But this has never felt like home.
When I take my son hiking, I am searching.
I am looking for a way to bring back the way I felt at home.
I tell him what the berries are, and what flowers you can eat.
How to tell when the fruit is ripe, and what the spittle on the tall grass is.
We put our feet in the creek of the park owned by the county.
We drive passed the farm sponsored by Land O Lakes.
We buy produce from a pick your own stand and drive to a beautiful place to eat it.
We don’t go barefoot.
We stay on the trails.
But I can’t hear the whippoorwill here,
And I can’t smell the clean scent of alfalfa just after the rain,
I don’t see God out my windows
And I can’t climb the tree in my backyard.
I don’t want to sit and drink tea on the windowsill.
There is nothing to see here.
Like a balloon, I feel myself floating away.
Grasping at anything to keep me grounded here.
Reaching out for something that feels familiar,
Something like the sound of my Dad’s keys on his thigh,
Like the feel of the back of my Grandfather’s hand,
The smell of hay, and manure, and oats, tobacco wood over a hundred years old
Of freedom, and lightness, and joy.
Home was always and never was a place.
Home was always and never was tangible.
Home was always and never will be, mine.