Wednesday, May 27, 2015

There's No Place Like Home

Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz closes her eyes, clicks the heels of her red shoes, says, “There’s no place like home,” and magic transports her back to Kansas. Dorothy’s trip to Oz was unplanned; Jan and I took our recent road trip because we wanted to. However, after 8,411.7 miles and forty-seven days, we agree there is no place like home.

The trip was great. We saw places new to us; we visited family and friends; we had lots of outdoor time; we identified at least 115 species of birds. I’d do something similar again—just not for a while.

Once the topography changed and the woods resembled my woods, I felt my soul begin to recharge. Exiting the car to unlock the driveway chain, I stopped and took in a long snootful of our vernal freshness. It will take some time to recover from forty-seven days on the road, but I’m not in a hurry.

No one was up at the lake when we arrived. At roughly N 46.4 degrees of latitude, spring had barely begun. The first thing I had to do was turn on the power (we’re off grid with solar panels and huge batteries) so I could run the well pump. Given the high temperature for the day was only forty-one, starting a fire in the fireplace was next on the list.

The only sounds besides us unpacking the car were wind caressing the evergreen branches and occasional bird songs. At one point the quiet was so intense all I heard was the whoosh of blood flowing through my arteries.

An eagle flew by to check us out. At night the frogs sounded from the vernal pond.

The next day the hummingbirds found their feeders. Chickadees, nuthatches, purple finches and goldfinches discovered proffered sunflower seeds. A mink strolled across an open area near the house. Sharp-shinned hawks called to each other (although unlike last year they don’t have a nest right in front of our house.)

In the coming days we’ll experience our seventh or eighth (and last) spring this year. (We lost count as we crisscrossed the country). Just a few miles south of us, trees are swathed in myriad shades of new-growth green. Here, the buds have just exploded; the leaves will shortly follow and the woods will soon close ranks, closing down long sight into their interiors.

Coming home reminds me how blessed I am. Is there a place that recharges your soul?

~ Jim

[This blog originally appeared May 24, 2015 on Writers Who Kill]