“We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.” (Pascal Mercier, "The Night Train to Lisbon")
"Home is where you wear your hat. I feel so break up, I want to go home." (Lord John Warfin, "The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai Across the 8th Dimension")
I've been a bit of a gypsy over the course of my lifetime. I'm the kind of girl whose name was best written in pencil in an address book (back when we actually had address books, if you don't know what that is just ask your gramma). Sometimes "where are you from?" is the hardest question for me to answer: do you mean where was I born, or where did I go to high school, or where did I live the longest, or where is all my stuff now, because the answers to all those questions are different. (Charlottesville, VA; Shaker Heights, OH; Los Angeles, CA; and Walla Walla, WA, in case you're wondering). And my tenure in the Little Yellow House is both relatively recent and due to the vagaries of my dead husband's career trajectory, so in some ways it felt a bit tenuous to me when I prepared to leave for a month-long driving trip. Hours before I left, friends congregated here and it was only partly in jest that I raised my plastic glass full of wine and urged, "Don't forget me, you fuckers."
But there's something about watching mile after mile disappear underneath your tires to put one of a mind to think about the meaning of "home." Where do I feel most myself? Where are the people that I long to see? Where can I put up my feet, and lay down my head, and know in my heart of hearts that I am where I am supposed to be? And I realized that this idyllic little town ringed by golden hills, cloaked in grey skies all winter long, tinged with the scents of freshly cut wheat and lavender (and occasionally the paper plant 30 miles away), and filled with people I love, this place I've lived in for so short a time, this is home. And all of a sudden it was the only place I wanted to be.
And damned if those beloved fuckers--the wine makers and the professors, the yoga pals and the neighbors, the new acquaintances and the long-time friends--they hadn't forgotten me at all. I've had dinner dates, and lunch dates, and drink dates, and yoga classes, and impromptu visits. I've scheduled runs and rides and chances to learn to belly dance and to rope steers. I have hugged and laughed and exclaimed from the bottom of my heart, "I missed you."
I'm home. Home: where I can find all the things and all the people that I left here, and where I can wear my hat.