By Pamela Noel
Special to Plumas News
She thought about “home.” The word felt poignant and sweet. When she imagined “home,” this sweetness of the word seemed to link with memories of the past—reminiscent of a time of her youthful experiences. For those who grew up in a loving, caring family, it is easy to long for the return to that time. For those who were not raised in this manner, the desire for home can remain a longing for what never was, but could possibly become.
She found herself wondering where the feeling of home would lead her—or whether there would be more than one place to land in her future. What would help her with her decision of where to locate? Climate was on her list. Breathable air was a must. What prompted this second item was the increasing amount of wood smoke plaguing her town in the winter. She thought that perhaps her mountain community could remain a spring and summer locale, when wood smoke is not an issue, (unless of course, a forest fire loomed).
She made her pros and cons list about various places. The idea of coastal breezes brought back childhood memories spent on the beach, walking in the sand, poking into tide pools. She remembered lying on the earth, looking up into the receding fog, hearing crows in the nearby pines—only hearing, but not seeing them until the fog burned off for the day. First, there would appear a bright spot, in the haze. That spot became blue with the shifting burn off. As the blue space became larger, she was able to both hear and see the sea gulls and crows that were winging about above her.
Then, there were memories of following her father about the vegetable garden, her own child-sized hoe, spade, and rake moving with her as she mimicked her father, planting her own patch of lettuce, beans, and carrots. These were special times with him, his pointing out the seeming miracles of nature—how that first impulse of growth thrust up the bean shoot, reaching toward the sun, after being watered and warmed. She remembered their picking gravenstein apples for her mother to bake into pies, the picking of fresh corn, plunging it into boiling water within seconds of the picking. Lunch would then be a beautiful feast of corn and apple pie.
And when she reached adulthood, after exhausting her energy, proving herself in the corporate realm, she decided to seek a more restful, slower-paced life. Thus, she found her mountain retreat, the place that felt safe from many of the issues that plagued her previous chapter…a place of peak vistas, looking for miles into valleys, walking along quiet streets, waving to almost everyone. This felt right…like home for many years.
Life continued its reshuffle, giving her familiar yearnings for family, sea breezes, and clean air. However, she felt as if she would be abandoning a long developed community if she left the mountains. And yet, constantly moving from place to place didn’t seem to ground her in the manner that she needed. Wherever she was in the moment seemed to be home. Coming back to the Sierras, she would relax, feeling held in a place, up and out of the “fray.” At the same time, returning to the coast allowed the fresh breezes to blow a certain freshness into her being.
Wondering if she needed to make “a decision” about one or the other, she sat quietly with the idea of home resting in her. Where is home really? She remembered the ancient Tibetan saying, wherever you receive love, that’s your home. This allowed several choices. Deciding no decision was needed at the moment, she felt that, if a decision was needed, it would whisper to her when it was time…as long as she was ready to listen.