Come in! Come in!

"If you are a dreamer, come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a Hope-er, a Pray-er, a Magic Bean buyer; if you're a pretender, come sit by my fire. For we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!" -- Shel Silverstein

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

There's no place like home

I arrived at Llangollen, our sweet little cottage in LSD (Lower, Slower Delaware) late yesterday afternoon. 

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."


whiteycat said...

Enjoy these days and have a blessed New Year!

VTcrone said...

Lovely piece and I know the feeling. It's how I feel about our home in Vt, a feeling that I never really had about our place in NJ. I often refer to our years there as a "tour of duty."
BTW, is Ms. conroy allowed to "click her Crocks'" or are those banned at LLangollen? ;)

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

When she wears her Crocs, I don't look at her feet. She's now wearing UGGS shoes. With socks. It's a beautiful thing.

Kirkepiscatoid said...

You know what's amazing? I hear you tell the tale, and imagine the marsh and the ocean, and I see my pasture! Ahhhh. (relaxin'.)

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Some of the sea gulls are sitting in a nearby pasture somewhere. That's the thing about life here in LSD - pastures, corn fields, ocean and bay. Ahhhh . . .

Muthah+ said...

I am going to be moving this year. I hope we can find a place where we can find this kind of peace.

Bill said...

Home is where Sarah the cat licks my face. She loves me in spite of the garlic.

Jane Priest said...

Sounds lovely. Maybe I'd rather bring Patrick and visit you "at home" one day. It would be closer! Change of subject no segue. I used to feel much the same about hunters until I got into the "eat local" movement. I would so much rather eat something that was living free in it's natural environment than something that was farmed. Just "food" for thought.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Okay, Joie. I'll give you the "eat local" - but somehow, that's always meant vegetables and fruit to me. Mind you, I eat chicken, fish and seafood and a modicum of meat, so I'm no purist. Just a carnivore with a guilty conscience.

Re: visit - anywhere, any time, with whatever child.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Bill - so glad you identified Sarah.

Jane Priest said...

I have a friend, a priest in RI, who became a vegetarian not because he has a problem with animals being killed and eaten but because he can't stand the thought of how many animals are farmed. I agree with him but am not a vegetarian. I eat only free-range chicken, preferably purchased at our local year-round market where they are sometimes slaughtered the morning before I cook them (yum!). We very rarely eat beef and otherwise eat local free-range lamb and pork. I am more concerned with the quality of life the animal has than the fact that it is eventually killed --not just for the animals' sake but also our own. Corporate farming is wasteful and pumps tons of antibiotics and other chemicals into our bodies and water (hence antibiotic resistant bacteria).

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

You make some important points, Joie. I appreciate them.