After six weeks in Louisville, and four in Evanston, Illinois, I'm now at home in Machias, Maine. It's been a great summer for many reasons. Much growth has been had in the past few months, growth that only come from stretching oneself, trying new things, and generally experiencing the ups and downs of life as a twentysomething.
But enough about all that. It's time to give a few ruminations on being home in Machias, where I'll be for the next week, and in which place my chief responsibility is relaxation. Tough life, this.
Prior to my return, I hadn't thought much about how involved the process of coming home is. I flew for four hours with one transfer from Louisville to Boston, took a 2.5 hour bus ride from Boston to Portland, ME, was driven from Portland to Rockland, and then again from Rockland to Machias. That's alot of sitting, and alot of luggage carrying, and all that makes for alot of shoulder aching. But the pain disappears when one returns to the motherland, the blessed country, the soil of our forefathers. What a joy it was to be back in New England, desperately racing around Logan Airport, hearing the Massachusetts accents, feeling the slightly chilled New England evening air. I almost sniffled at the sight of many things--downtown Boston, the Concord Trailways bus; even the Big Dig sites had me nearly dabbing at my eyes. Things only got more wonderful, if more isolated, upon arrival in Maine. The ocean, a friend nearly forgotten, welcomed me with its warm sands and crisp breeze. The lake, at a friend's house, wrapped me in a quiet embrace as I hacked my way through a breaststroke. The lawn, wide and green, invited me to chop through it, which went quite well until I managed to nearly destroy the lawnmower (don't ask; it involved the oil cap, daydreaming, and much smoke). In all these things Maine welcomed me, hugged me, and my heart hugged it heartily back.
There is much sweetness to be found in the resumption of old patterns of life. At home for a week, Mom cooks her sumptuous spaghetti sauce, her indulgent blueberry cake, and offers to do a wash or two for me. Such kindness comes through exchange of labor, naturally, but this is a happy trade. After months of study and research, it's a pleasure to mow the lawn. There's also the pleasantness enjoyed in time spent with siblings. Mine, whose wedding has brought me home, is a skilled hairstylist who pressed me to "highlight" my hair shortly after my arrival. Dutifully complying, I was subjected to the process, and am now a step closer in my quest to appear as California-ish as possible. The event gave much opportunity for catch-up conversation, enjoyable because my sister understands the feminine mind like few do and because, well, I love her. (isn't this blog just dripping?)
Numerous conversations with Mom and Dad round out the happiness of being home and remind me of the high-school years, when I was free to laugh and ponder and puzzle with my parents on a daily basis. I miss that closeness much these days, but time must pass, and with it must go old ways of life. Nonetheless, every visit home is special. It's a wonderful thing to grow up, mature, and be able to be friends with parents and siblings, once the choicest of pubescent enemies. Add to all this the hilarity of five--yes, five, it's something of a problem--cats tearing all over everywhere and you've got a really fun return visit.
Beyond fun, however, is rest, refreshment, and the savoring of a week at home with family. Times like these are precious, underappreciated in their unfolding, and gone almost before they start, though remembered long after they end.