After a 2 1/2 week trip south, driving 2200 miles, I am left with so much to think about. The drive itself provided a lot (maybe too much?) time to think about the concept of home. When I decided to make the trip, it all hinged on timing — could I stay at my cousin’s home for almost 2 weeks and could I bookend the trip with stops in Weaverville, North Carolina, to visit with my dear friend. Once the timing was set, I put the dog in the back seat and went on my way, leaving my new home behind. When I arrived in Tallahassee, it felt like coming home and it should since I lived there for 37 years. However, I was struck by the thought that I have a new home and so I had to consciously try not to refer to Tallahassee as home. On the other hand, I felt a bit disloyal calling Lords Valley home.
After an absolutely wonderful time in Weaverville, Tallahassee and environs (more about that in a later post), I was reluctant to leave. The prospect of stopping in Weaverville, however, kept me from being too maudlin about leaving and the familiar drive through Georgia again left me with lots of time to think about whether home as a concept changes over time.
I visited with my former next door neighbor and good friend, Kay, taking a good long look at the house I lived in for over 30 years, where the children were raised. I thought about a time when we first bought the house and I stood across the street hardly believing that this would be my new home, where we would make memories, have a second child, and four dogs! When I looked at it, at first it made me a bit sad, but then it became just a house, no longer a home to me. It was only a home when I lived in it. Because travel in and out of Tallahassee is cumbersome to say the least, had I stayed I would see my children only a couple of times a year unless I traveled north. My new home in the Poconos is a different kind of home — for one (and one dog of course) — but one that still has the potential for building memories of family and friends, just in a different way.
Two homes — that’s the conclusion I have come to — I can comfortably call Tallahassee home as well as Lords Valley. When I discussed these ideas and feelings with my friend, Lynda, she simply said that I am where I’m supposed to be. Close to family, within driving distance of the greatest city in the world. But, close to family is the most important thing and that which makes a place a home. I used to stand at the end of the hall and look down into the kitchen, out to the carport and think, “This is a great home and I love it.” Now, I do the same thing here, looking out at the woods, looking at the fireplace and thinking, “This is a nice home and I love being close to my children and grandchild.” I am still struggling with the concept of home but have made peace for now with having two homes that mean two different things.