As I drove to piano lessons today the beauty that surrounded me was awe inspiring.
Thick purple and grey colored clouds spread out over a valley as spectrums of pink and orange were painted in the remnants of the Sunrise. Pale blues flowed like water through the outer edges of the giant puffs of cotton. The sun completely hidden but its presence evidenced by giant beams of light shining through the wall of clouds. Twenty to thirty beams of various sizes finding their way haphazardly through the blankets of purple and grey.
Below this glorious sky was a valley formed from three rolling hills. Each hill a menagerie of colors. The remnants of summers leaves nearby burning yellows, reds, oranges, and all intermixed with pockets of Winter evergreen. Like flames flickering in the wind the colors away and move over the landscape.
It is a scene that is still new to me. Still awe inspiring. The warmth of the flames fills my heart even as the temperatures begin to drop.
I didn’t grow up in this. I am not dulled to the beauty. I am flabbergasted each and every time I drive down a wooded lane. EVERYTIME. Autumn is beautiful to me. Winter is beautiful to me. Spring is beautiful to me. Summer…well summer is whatever.
As military child bouncing from Navy base to Marine Corps base and back throughout my life I am used to California coastal life. I am used to tropical islands. I’m used to dessert heats. I can easily handle 120 degree summers, 40 degree mornings with 80 degree afternoons and 60 degree evenings. I sometimes take for granted smooth sandy beaches and crystal clear blue oceans.
What I love, more than anything is a foggy morning. A crisp breeze that steals my breath as it whips through me. The change that occurs every few months as the world around you transforms before your eyes.
It’s not that I don’t appreciate the beauty of the other places. Places that others dream of visiting their whole lives. I do. I love walking along the beach. A sunset across an Arizona dessert in the spring is one of my favorite things in the world. However, it never steals my breath the way fall in the Northeast does.
There is something spectacularly fascinating about things that are different. Something that grabs our attention. At times that feeling is strongly negative and at others enticing.
Do I love Fall so much because it is different?
Is it because I’ve seen palm trees for most of my life that I do not find them appealing?
After living in Virginia for a few years my husband and I moved to Southern California.Everyone was so excited for us. Friends that have never been further east than the Appalachian Mountains or further south than North Carolina were overjoyed. My husband was excited too, having only lived there once before for three years. To me it was blah. Whatever. No big deal.
I was more excited about living near great Mexican Food and Carne Asada Fries than I was about the weather or environment. I grew up there. It was normal.
When I got there the familiarity washed over me and I loved it again but I sincerely missed having four seasons. When fall came and only one street had imported trees that changed colors with the season I made excuses to drive down that road. I pulled out my favorite hoodie and bought my first pair of boots. I think I wore those boots about six times before moving. As we were driving cross country we all watched the scenery change outside those filmy windows. From the deserts of the southwest to the rolling plains of the midwest and finally into the absolute beauty of Tennessee, Virginia and Maryland. When we made our way up into Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut to visit family I felt like I was home.
How weird is that?
Sure I was born on the East Coast and lived there for my first three years but after that I had only spent a few weeks in the summer, every other summer and three years as an adult living in that atmosphere…3 years and a few summers out of 30+ years of living elsewhere. Arizona feels like home too but in a different, nostalgic way. A home made up of memories and experiences but not necessarily I place a I need to go back to. Not at all like being in the Northeast. I feel at peace here. I can see myself living here long term. I can see myself raising my children in this environment. I can see us building an actual Home, not just occupying someone else’s house.
Retirement is close to us and maybe this idea of home is more on my mind lately, but it makes me wonder.
What is home? Some people talk about home in absolute terms and I don’t understand that. How can you just live in one place your whole life? I know thats the norm but I don’t get it.
Home has always been a sort of joke for me and all those little sayings just made it seem kind of stupid and sappy.
“Home is where your heart is”
“Home is where the Navy sends us”
“Home is where the Corps sends us”
When asked where I’m from I often reply that I am homeless. I am a military child and a Military spouse. I find comfort in the change of a new PCS. I begin to get antsy if we have lived in a single house for more than a year. I rearrange the furniture in my house almost quarterly.
The idea of a home, of an absolute location that never changes regardless of where you go or what you do scares the living daylights out of me! I don’t have anxiety over moving but retirement, living in one place, buying a house, having neighbors that don’t move yearly, having people that know your history…That terrifies me! Im talking nightmares and chills, terrifies me.
I am terrified of the idea of Home,
yet here I am feeling at home in a region I barely know.
Maybe it’s my sense of adventure.
Maybe, its that I’m older and have children.
Maybe I am just growing up but I’m begging to think,
That maybe I can get used to this…
Maybe its not such a big deal.
Maybe, I can learn to feel at home with the idea of HOME.