Wednesday, December 30, 2009
There's no place like home
The house was amazingly cozy, even though I had set it at 58 before I left. I jacked up the thermostat to 70 for an hour or so and then brought it down again to a comfortable 65 for sleeping.
I was awakened at 4:30 AM by the duck hunters in the marsh in front of our home. They were quiet for awhile but started up again just a little bit ago. It's disconcerting but part of life here on the Bay.
There has been a storm since I was last here. I can tell by the sea grass left in the front yard. It's apparent that it wasn't a bad storm because there isn't that much of it and it's not close to the house. The winds must have been strong because my rocking chair was in the middle of the deck.
The seagulls are nowhere in sight. Probably because it's cold and they've found shelter on a garbage dump somewhere, feasting on the bounty to be found there. Or, I'll see them later on this afternoon, gathering on an open field, all huddled together.
I've never experienced it as cold as it is here this morning. It was 19 degrees at 4:30 AM. It's up to a whopping 27 degrees right now, a wee bit after 11 AM.
The wind has died down and the sun is out. I shudder - literally - to think how much colder it will be when the wind picks up again and the sun goes down. I confess that my heart is strangely warmed thinking of the duck hunters shivering in their blind waiting for their innocent prey.
I can follow the currents in the Bay by looking at the way the ice forms on the water and watching some of the ducks paddling around. The ice is very thin but unmistakable as it glistens in the sun.
Yes, I love it here. It's home. It's where I feel peace. It's where I pay attention to things like the elements, the yard, the birds, my neighbors, the weather - and all of that happens 'naturally', effortlessly, without forethought or sense of obligation or duty.
It's where I feel memories of family times - happy and difficult - surround and embrace me like an old, warm, favorite sweater.
The rectory is, of course, where we live most of the time. It's a lovely, comfortable house and we are very fortunate to have such accommodation. But, it's not "home". Not the way this place is "home".
Perhaps ownership has something to do with it, but it's not the whole truth about what makes a house a home. I don't know too many people who don't have a mortgage, so few people really "own" their own home. There are other kinds of "investments" that go into what constitutes "ownership."
I think it has to do with the investment of love. Of family. Of memories. Of the place where you can be who you are because the place, in some sense, gives you that identity as much as you identify it as your home.
One of my favorite sayings about "home" is this: "Home is the place, where, when you go there, they have to take you in."
That's what Llangollen is for me - a place where I am accepted and welcomed, just as I am. No matter my state of mind or condition of body or soul.
It's the place where, when you're there, you click your ruby red slippers - or Nike sneakers, or boots, or Birkenstocks or flip flops - and you hear yourself sigh contentedly as you say - part as a statement of fact and part as a prayer of thanksgiving: "There's no place like home."