Been awhile since the last update, hasn’t it? The day job sure cuts into my writing time when it’s actually busy! It’s settling back into a normal pace now… so I can finally start to shake the cyber-dust off these pages.
A few weeks ago, after a concert, I spent a night at my parents’ house. I slept in their guest room—which used to be MY room, years ago.
It felt like a time warp.
It’s an odd feeling—going back home, staying in a room that’s exactly the same AND completely different from how you remember it. Mom and Dad painted the walls. And the furniture is new. But it’s arranged pretty much the same way as I had it when I lived there. The new bed is in the same place as my old bed was. Sleeping there felt like staying somewhere I’d never been before, but also like I never left. Under the new paint, I could almost picture the posters and photos that I hung up years ago. It made me laugh to notice the dual phone jack where my old desk used to be—one port for my land-line phone extension, the other for my dial-up Internet access. 56 kbit/s! Now that was a high-speed connection! (Oops…I’m showing my age again, aren’t I?)
Feels odd, too, to describe visiting “my parents’ house” when for so long that house was home.
What makes someplace home? Ask any number of people that question and you’ll probably get the same number of answers. To me, I think, home is a place where I can be myself. Where I can get away from whatever is going on in the world if I need to. Of course I feel at home in my house, with my husband and my dog. But I have a few other homes, too—my parents’ house, my church, the library, the summer camp I attended every year growing up. I loved camp. It seems counterintuitive, almost, now. Most of the time, I can’t stand to be outdoors in the summer. And I wasn’t in great physical shape even when I was younger, so I always found hiking difficult, and camp had tons of hills—I once joked that there, most trails really are uphill both ways, coming and going. And I don’t like not being able to be alone sometimes, and at camp I’d share a cabin with seven other people. But for two weeks every year, none of that mattered. Growing up, camp was where I most felt at home. It was the only place I had a big group of friends and felt like I could be myself. Every year, as soon as I arrived, I felt like I had never left at all. It’s been more than a decade (really??!) since I last set foot on the camp grounds—but I think if I were to visit it tomorrow, I’d probably still have the same feeling that I’d never left.