Going home

Published 8:44 am Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Everyone has one. Somewhere in the caverns of your mind resides a place called home. A place of belonging, of attachment, of history.

It needn’t be impressive to strangers, for they have no part in it. No need for a big mansion with numerous bedrooms and bathrooms. It needn’t be on a famous street or a breathtaking hill or elaborately constructed.

Why, the doors can creak and the windows swollen shut. The faucet can drip, the screens have some tears and the plaster cracked. There can even be a leak in the corner when a Nor’easter comes through. This place is not about image or opulence. It seeks no recognition save that of being remembered by you.

Over there is the kitchen in which your taste buds were discovered and brought alive. Why, there’s your mom, standing at her familiar place by the stove, laboring over that dish you loved so much. It gave her great delight to watch your enjoyment of her work. Just entering in this kitchen makes you hungry.

Over there, at that table in that chair, is where you sat. Somehow, it became your assigned seat. You viewed both the table and the world from that perspective and grew up, meal by meal, sitting there.

By some unknown hand it was marked “Reserved” awaiting your presence and from that destination you absorbed rituals of life. From which direction the food usually came, what comments made people laugh, when to commence eating, how to put butter on bread and the use of fork and knife. It was a seat of learning.

Back there was where you slept all those years. The mattress need not be anything special, for after while, it simply felt like yours. Same with the pillow. Laying in that place, lying there, sounds took on a personality, a distinct perspective. The shower running. Low murmurs down the hall. The wind blowing against the house. Rain on the roof. A thunderstorm passing through, shouting its thunder and displaying spectacular shadows on the wall, then slowly heading away, like a train, its rumbles ever quieter. A ticking clock. Footsteps, their volume betraying their destination. The aroma of sheets and blankets. Sun rays shining through the morning light. The feel of the floor on fresh morning feet.

Out back was not just a yard. It was your yard. There’s the tree you climbed. There’s the grass you loved to run your bare feet through the first warm day and smell the flowers. That spot is where you saw the snake and over there that bee stung you.

The low place is where the best mud puddles were when it rained and you ran through them and laughed.

So go home, my friend. If nothing other than in your mind, go home. Roll in its memories, run though its places, savor its smells.

It is uniquely yours to hold, to relish, to embrace, to nestle down into its arms and celebrate. And count yourself blessed.