Back Home

I have woken Here nine hundred mornings to good days and bad.
To the scent of saltwater or the sound of the snow blower.
And Here I am happy.
But There is still "Back Home."

It was There I slept under the shadow of the sixty year oak,
Out on a limb, coveting roots.
It was There two babies cried themselves alive into my arms.
Ten winters flurried.
Twenty storms raged.
Ten summers sulked.
And countless breezes blew.
There, where a hurricane double-wind dared the maple next door to bend over and ring the doorbell.
(A feat a tree of fifty circles ought never attempt. Because it fell and couldn't get up.)

It was There the mailman delivered dead-end letters, all stamped with disapproval.
There, where we leaped with the first letter that didn't start with "we regret...".

It was There I pined during his desert detour,
And almost lost him twice
In sickness and in health.

It was There, where one after another and all at once we met
Trial, Failure, Heartbreak, Loss.
It was There, where under the shadow of the oak one morning we woke,
And staring right at us, stirring us awake, was Hope and a Future.

But we moved from There.
Where we conceived a dream, birthed a possibility, nurtured a reality.
We moved from There, where we were strangers to few and friends to many,
Where we cut career teeth and tasted snooty wines with down-to-earth people,
Where Halloween wouldn't haunt without mulled cider and
A parade of costume-clad toddlers to the blazing red tree.
(Oh I miss that tree).

We moved nine hundred nights ago, and everything has surely changed.
Another child is rocked by that window.
Another woman curses the gumball seeds caught in the rake.
Another jogger struggles up the slow grade from Old Town.
But Here I am, wishing for the There
That is and might always be Back Home.

Photo by Kevin H.

No matter how much I love it here (and oh I really do love it!), my heart aches every October for the perfectly round red tree at the end of my Virginian street. (It is still my street, no matter what the deed says!) Roots are stealthy. You hardly realize you have them until it is time to pick up and go. Today I wish I could revisit the first place I ever felt grounded and linger a while under the shadow of that sixty year oak.

Where is Back Home for you? If you are still there, what do you love about it? If you have left, what do you miss about it?

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