I lived in a four-bedroom + 1 and ½ bathroom (detached garage with a detached basketball hoop) house in Lindstrom, Minnesota between the ages of 14 and 18, a critical age for any adolescent, one full of many changes, apprehensions, hopes, decisions, and memories. We often mowed the front lawn in a diagonal fashion, as per the realtor’s suggestion: really just a fine selling point, but for some reason it stuck. And for some reason, I remember that bearded salesman with John Lennon-like spectacles telling us mowing the front lawn in such a fashion was a positive thing.
“All the neighbors are doing it! Look!”
Anyhow, in the basement bathroom, which was adjacent to the laundry room, read a saying my mother has always been fond of:
Home is Where the Heart Is
It was a cute little memento likely crocheted by someone from our Church, and one that has always stuck with me, especially since leaving the comforts of that home, a home ever so difficult to process as a place that would no longer be as such. The nest, as you will.
I have always sort of cherished these five simple words, especially after reading it for roughly five years straight as I entered and exited that basement ½ bathroom. I can, and never will, forget it, and a recent event has made me ponder this saying again and again, solidifying its significance in my long-term memory — bringing a newfound reality to this significant proverb.
The subtle event (as it unfolded):
The television projected a peripheral program as we dined under the kotatsu one Saturday night in early December – the kotatsu being perhaps the only Japanese thing about our evening, besides the fact that we were, well, in Japan (on a tiny remote island, no less). A homemade dinner had been prepared, complete with the Hawaii-by-way-of-Minnesota SPAM product garnishing the edges, adding that distinguished comfort to salt the taste buds. The conversation was convivial, pleasant. The island quiet, unpresuming.
At some point, which my memory recalls being somewhere halfway through the meal, I turned my head slightly to the right and looked at you – our eyes met for longer than a gaze, shorter than a stare – and I felt it. No words were exchanged, adding to the incredibly beautiful silence that in turn tuned out everything this world possibly could decipher as sound. And there was only us, at home, with each other.
No Japan. No America. No Canada. No maps.
The feeling of home has the power to transcend geography, supplant time, all the while wrapping you up in its powerful cocoon-like embrace.
Home can be anywhere. Home is where the heart is.