Home (Indie 30 – Day 13)

Home (Indie 30 – Day 13)

BootsnAll prompt: For some people, no matter how much they love traveling, there’s always no place like home. Other travelers make their homes wherever they happen to be. Tell us about your home – where is it and why do you consider it your home?

In recent years, I’ve thought this question was very hard to answer. Between graduating from high school and moving to Pittsburgh I had a pretty nomadic existence going from college to wherever my parents lived (it changed a few times) to Italy, Oregon, New York City and a smattering of other locations. I was so curious about this question that I even spent a year writing about home and travel to finish my MFA. And do you know what I learned writing about that? I’ve known where home is all along, but I had to go on the journey of writing for a year to find that out. (Which is making me think of the Wizard of Oz, do I sound like Dorothy?)

Home is New York – the Adirondacks, the Finger Lakes, the Hudson Valley, and New York City. I grew up there. We moved to the Adirondacks when I was ten years old and while I remember lots of wonderful things from those first ten years in Florida, it’s the Adirondacks that hold my heart. It’s the place where my family grew close and we had so many of our adventures. We lived in a log cabin in the woods. A real log cabin built by the man who sold it to us. We spent long afternoons sitting by the campfire in the summer and winter days in front of the woodstove. Ryan and I went exploring in the forest; one summer we found and picked tiny wild strawberries. We cooked so much, especially for holidays.

We had deer that came into the yard on a daily basis and we would watch them meander through, sometimes the pregnant does would take long rests in the yard. We had many cats – all of them wonderful. We lost some to the woods, but they were happy and spoiled indoor/outdoor cats. Some were mostly indoor, others were mostly outdoor – it was pretty much up to them.

My parents created a wonderful life for us there.

But I still left it to go to college.

I went to a small college in the Finger Lakes that felt like home from the first visit.

As I made friends, Wells only became more of a home for me and I was heartbroken to leave it when I graduated. I was proud of my degree and the work I’d put in to earn it, but emotionally I felt more like I’d been evicted than awarded an honor for years of hard work.

I’ve been in Pittsburgh for over two years now and while I call it home and have a Pennsylvania driver’s license, I’m from New York. I feel connected to the land there: the rolling mountains of the Adirondacks, the Hudson as it rushes over rocks in the north then widens as it nears the city, and the long blue lakes and corn fields of the Finger Lakes are part of my being.

When I drive from Pittsburgh to New York, I love the moment when I cross the New York State border. I take a deep breath and my shoulders relax, the calm of being home comes over to me, I feel safer in New York, more prepared to tackle the daily challenges of life. It’s not a perfect place, but it is the one that reminds me everything will be all right. It’s a place I love to go to recharge my batteries when I’ve been away for awhile.

One week from today, I get to go home. My brother will arrive to visit me here on Thursday and then on Sunday we’ll be crossing the New York border and driving to his apartment in the Hudson Valley. We’ll spend Thanksgiving together in NYC (we’re fulfilling a mutual travel dream of going to the Macy’s Parade). And then I’ll meet up with college friends as two of my college friends are getting married to each other that Saturday, I couldn’t be happier for them. I will get to be at home and be with much of my family. My brother for the week and much of my Wells family for the weekend. Just knowing that I’ll be there in a week puts a smile on my face. (I’m also looking forward to grabbing a box of Freihofer’s chocolate chip cookies.)

I love New York – the whole state. And it is home.

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