Whenever I sit down and begin to get quiet, it seems like there is always something that comes popping into my mind, shattering the notion that I have this quiet space where I can retreat to, leaving me with the notion that there is something left undone. Something that if only I could focus on it I could solve all of my hassles, make things fit together in a way that makes sense, giving me the feeling that by resting my thoughts I can rest my mind and body.
And so this morning I am thinking about an e-mail from a friend in Michigan asking when am I coming home? Home? Where is home? Is it in Michigan where I live 7 months of the year, on a fruit farm, where I feel at home as I am surrounded by beautiful orchards, old friends occasionally, scattered relatives? Or is it here in Florida, where I am surrounded by new friends? In Michigan I am connected to my friends and relatives by the wonder of the internet, and e-mails, but that is even more true here in Florida. Wherever I go I am connected by thoughts of love and friendship.
When I am at my Creative writers group, I say I need to go home now. Yet when I am visiting someone in Michigan, I leave them to go home to the farm. It is all a question of semantics, I have come to believe. When I lived in Colorado, that was home. When a woman marries, she changes her name usually, and she also changes her home.
So there is only one way to look at it. No matter where we are, no matter what state we currently reside in, no matter how long we are there, Home is where the heart is at the current time. I feel very fortunate that there have been so many places in my life where the heart truly was. And still is, I must add. The memories are a gift from God.
Looking at spring blossoms today with a blustery winter storm going on in Michigan is probably pretty disgusting to the people that are busy surviving the typical Febuary storms. When I go on Facebook or Twitter and see the pictures I wince, and hope that all of my friends and family are safe. I try not to brag about our beautiful weather here in Florida because I still remember what it is like to live in the north in the winter. Visions of all of the clothes that we piled on, the extra scarves and the fur lined boots if we were lucky still fill my memories. I am remembering all of the wet mittens, coats, hats and scarves draped all over the registers, and the smell of them as they dried. When my kids were young we used bread wrappers both in and out of the boots trying to keep them from leaking. It was difficult to get things dried before it was time to go outside again.
And yet we did go outside. And when we didn’t have to go to school we loved playing outdoors. Snowmen decorated our yard and we made forts out of the many snow balls that we rolled into larger spheres. We made them large enough so we could even stand in the fort, and we covered the tops with branches or blankets. Then we would call the fort our club, and have meetings. Sometimes our mothers would give us cookies to have a picnic.
We went sliding, and ice skating. My dad would use a hose and make a pond for us in our back yard early in the winter and we would have all the neighborhood kids over for a great time. There was usually an ice pond at our neighborhood school but we had to walk about 6 blocks to it. Some of my cousins had a long steep hill right behind their house and we would go there on Sundays after church.
It was a long time ago, and it was a simpler time. Thinking about it now makes me realize just how much things have changed. I rarely see children playing outside just for the sheer joy of it as we always did. My mother never called me in until it was almost dark in the summertime. We didn’t own a lot of equipment, we were really lucky if we had a bike. Most of us had wagons tho, which we had plenty of use for.
This has turned into a look backward into time, and for a lot of us that is probably a good thing. We have a lot to be grateful for, the memories of a simpler childhood, playing outdoors, very little organized events of any kind, other than school, Sunday school, and church, but we sure had a lot of fun playing outdoors.
As the Beatles would sing, “Those were the days, my friends, those were the days.”