flame & stone

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BlogHilary OQ Nelson3 Comments

Well.  It took me a while to decide on what I wanted to write about this week. Naturally I surpassed my self set deadline, and got a little down on myself.  Lots going on in the old brain, over stimulated and over pressured I suppose, aren't  we all? 

So, Home.   What I kept coming back to is the concept of Home.

That comfortable place in your life can help one heal so much.  

What constitutes a home?  What makes one feel at home? Is it a structure? A community?  Specific people? Comfort?  Regularity? Is it the place you grew up? Is it a place you came to find on your own?  Does it provide a  feeling of safety?  A feeling of love?  A feeling of something else?  Or is it really just something you can't really describe?  How did you find your home? Where is your home?  

Where is my home? 

In my instance, my home is not where I grew up, though I still call that place home.  I was raised in your standard American Midwest Suburbia, which has now blossomed into another analogous exit of the highway of corporate American towns.  My upbringing was fine.  I  feel lucky to have memories of that home before it was enveloped by concrete and stoplights and any store you could possibly ever need to go to. Sheltered, safe, privileged, white.  

The man I came to marry grew up passing between a similarly suburban utopia and this small town Northwoods community, surrounded by water.  

To make a long story short, our suburban upbringings united us in our youth, and over the years brought us back together.  But the first visit I took to his other home, at age 19, changed me.  Once my tires rolled onto the ferry boat on the chilly April day, I knew that this place was magic.  The magic enveloped me once on the island.  I remember having trouble sleeping that weekend out of this pure excitement, shivering in a tent as the waves crashed against the shore and the wind howled through the pines.  Every person I met welcomed me with a warmness you just really do not find growing up in a big city, everyone had a story to tell, some many.  The beauty of the place itself is breathtaking. The soul of the island is magical, still gives me goosebumps at times. 

Right away, I more or less knew I wanted to stay there. I knew I had to stay there.  

So, I did.  I moved there a month later, for the summer, which melted into fall, which turned to winter, spring summer again... I came and went over the years, moving here and there, going to college, but at any moment I could, I ran back there.  It was the place my heart longed to be whenever I was away. I actually remember a boss of mine in college telling me I "needed to get off the island,"  and my response was, WHY? And I still feel that way.  Part of me feels like he was jealous of my unending love for this place, perhaps so, perhaps not.  I do know, now since having came an gone from there for 15 years, that I am certainly not alone in this feeling I get when there and this longing I get when away.  

And in the midst of personal crisis 2.5 years ago we moved away, but not far away, certainly not far enough away.  At every opportunity, we make a dash to the ferry, seeking shelter on the shores encompassed by that clear, cold, powerful water. And here we are, realizing, yeah... this place we moved to, so close to our home, just isn't our home.  We love our house, our neighborhood, the school up the road, we have friends on this side of the pond; but it just isn't the same. It just isn't our home. So, yes, what does make that my home?

The beauty, the magic, the people, the community, the trees, the spirits, the stories, the feeling. All of it. 

I feel so lucky to know this feeling.  To have found a place that captured my heart while simultaneously welcoming me into its community with open arms.  I feel even more lucky that we are able to move back there, to make a life there, to raise our children there.  It certainly is not for everyone. It, perhaps, doesn't provide the most 'opportunity', but this is relative to what you strive to achieve I suppose.  The Northwoods island life is not necessarily a walk in the park, it takes planning, and the ability to live in an isolated place. It takes creativity to make a living, and community to support you when you struggle.  If you're all about your regular trips to the movie theaters, yoga classes and shopping malls; well... that isn't gonna happen here. It makes me enjoy the big city opportunities that much more when I have them, and I am always ready to retreat to the woods after a few days of relishing in the jungle of modern city civilization. For me, I enjoy the purity. The realness.  The randomness of the qualities of the people who call this small place home.  I cherish the silence.  The sounds of the Lake and the woods.  It is a life more in tuned to the natural world, and certainly with water and its forces.  It's a life you have to physically work for to make happen, at least we, not blessed with a large bank account, have to.  I love the connection to the past, the indigenous spirits that roam the land are undeniable.  At the heart of it, it is just a magical place.  If you get it, you get it, and you will never be the same. For this place, and the discovery of this place, the path that lead me to this place, I feel the depths of gratitude on a whole new plane.

I am not saying that home is perfect.  I can't deny that at times in the depths of harsh dark isolated winters, or even in the chaos of tourist filled summer days, that I don't feel the need to escape. That is a natural occurrence. But, after being just close enough to home, but not actually home for the last few years, it has made me realize what it is I truly value in a home, and where I do in fact feel just feel at home. 

So, for you I ask, Where is your home? What makes it home?  How did you come to know this home?  Do you live there? If not, why?  

I'd really like feedback on this one.  Even if it is just the seven of you I know for sure have read my previous posts, I am grateful for you 7 and your comments!  And if you don't care to respond, I hope this makes you think about the questions, and about what matters to you, and about where feels like home. 

Also, shout out to the podcast Dear Sugars, and the episode Location Location Location, for their inspiration to dive a little deeper into this concept that has been lingering in my brain.  It's a great podcast with a plethora of subjects, have a listen on your way up to visit me on the island :) . 

Happy Sunday.  Be well.