Finding “home”


Spring has come to Wisconsin. After a late frost that had me running in my pajamas to cover the vegetable garden, the blossoms are on the trees, the peonies are about to burst, and the lilac fills the house with heady scent. And as I’ve done every year for the past ten years, I ask myself this: was winter just an illusion? How could weather that tough simply disappear under sunny skies, gentle rain, and stunning blooms? Spring seems almost unbelievable.

My husband and I sit on the porch and take in the glory of a May evening. We look at that bucolic view, think of those great friends coming over later for drinks, and marvel at the lucky lives we lead. So why is it we want to move again? Why do we want to change countries again? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?

Then a scent wafts across the garden from the apple tree blossoms and I’m back in the English country village I grew up in, picking apples. A dog barks and it’s a Sunday evening, I’m in bed as a child, way too early as the sun is still up and the neighbour’s dog is still awake. The scent of fresh cut grass takes me to hay and horses as a teenager. A message comes through on my phone from England. Family over there is thinking of me. And so it begins again.

But I have to admit, I feel more “at home” these days. I can only put it down to the fact I’m writing. And I don’t mean just writing about England, which is a joy, of course. I mean it’s just that I’m writing. I’m comfortable here in this world of pictures built one word at a time. I’ve found something I’ve been looking for, and I’ve been looking for it for a long time. I’m a novice at the art, but somehow it’s so familiar to me. An old friend, a new friend, a refuge, a home.

All this begs the question: is “home” a place, a person, a time in your life, a niche you finally find? Is it a career, a friend, a lifestyle, an era? I’m assuming it’s really a combination of all of the above, but how lucky one has to be to find it.

Winter’s over. I’ve found spring. And I’ve found a writer’s home I can live in anywhere in the world.

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