My commute is now about 7 minutes. It used to be a minimum of 25. You guessed it, I'm back in my house in Athens. Thank God. Today I visited the little country house nearly one month after we left and the only thing I found that I missed was the feeling that my grandmother's spirit might be out there amongst the trees. She loved that little spot - it was the best thing she ever had. I wonder if this spot here in Athens is my little place, my nest, my refuge from life's storm. Could be. All I know is that the instant we got things cleaned up and began to put our things back in the house, hang our pictures back on the walls, cut the grass, and cook a meal - I felt better all over. A quiet sense of peace.
I really don't miss the country. Maybe I miss the proximity to my father's place and his gigantic oak trees that must be 200 years old. Or the sounds of the creek below my grandmother's house. The baby geese that we got to watch grow over the course of the Spring. Maybe I miss that feeling of really being in the place where I grew up. But here it is my life I'm living, starting fresh and new, but not forgetting all that I could have lost in those spaces in between - the place I always belonged. I'm really thankful for that time I had to spend out there in that tiny little hot/cold house. I'm thankful for all of the memories I regained while in that space: the way my Granny looked standing at the stove with her apron on and her spatula in hand (I can smell the bacon frying), the ancient echos of my childhood laughter when my Uncle Keith and I used to squirt each other with the water hose, Granny reciting the poem about leaves falling in the wind, and all of the times our family gathered there to eat and laugh and love.
No life is perfect. No life is without pain and sacrifice. But I've also found that no life is without tender moments of real peace and love and laughter and minutes you'd like to bottle up and save for later so you'd never forget what it felt like when they happened. What I would give now to lay my head in Granny's soft lap and feel her long slender fingers course through my hair. What I would give to be a child again swinging mightily on the tire swing my father hung from the limb of that giant oak tree. What I'd give to hold my baby brother in my arms again. And wouldn't we all love to know then what we know now?