Pabst Snow Picnic with my siblings
I am writing this on the last day of Winter, 2010. I have been thinking about Home this week. Home in the sense of people, places and things.
A year ago, I prepared to fly down to Austin with my sister to revisit our old town and attend the wedding of friends. I had not flown in several years and had since experienced a slow, creeping anxiety about flying. I wrote about my experience getting back on a plane in my blog post, "Why I Am Not at Home On a Plane." Strange that a year later these feelings are resurfacing, spurred by a dream I had several days ago about flying to China with a friend and not being able to board the plane out of sheer fear and panic. As mentioned in my blog post from a year ago, before getting on the plane again, I had to come to grips with why I really, truly, and honestly am afraid to fly.
My mind treats flying as if it is a treacherous journey full of peril, like going to the moon. Many people I know treat flying with the same ease as riding a sleigh "to Grandmother's house we go." Why my mind can't see flying as what it is - one of the safest ways to travel - is a mystery. But it is not just about the act of flying on a plane for me, it is ultimately my fear of dying manifested in a tangible form - something that I do while living that reminds me of my vulnerability and the fact that, yes, I am going to die one day, and so is everyone around me.
It's no wonder then that I cling so fiercely to things that seem constant, stable, and true: my simple life in our farmhouse with my husband and dog; the thought of sleeping in my own bed with just them in the room with me; my siblings, friends, and family who live close by; trips to visit my parents, sister, Grandmother, aunts, uncles, cousins, in places that I've known my whole life. There is nothing unusual about just wanting to be home, whatever home is to you in that moment.
So why do I seem to revisit these thoughts of home every year when the world is just awakening again after a long winter? Perhaps it's just my recent dream that happened to spark these feelings again. Or perhaps it's hormones, a passing mood, a last moment of reflection and introspection as the pensive season of winter dies again.
I do know one thing for sure: I cherish these places and people more than anything, and more than ever, as adulthood forces me to face my own vulnerability and fragility in this world, and the mortality of those around me. I never let a day pass without spending time in face-to-face, meaningful experiences with real people (not the computer screen) - and animals - doing real activities: sampling new foods, romping around outside, sharing a laugh around the kitchen table, playing music together on a stage, toasting life over glasses of wine, taking walks with my dog and husband, giving hugs, being honest, sharing emotions and memories, playing board games, writing songs, having picnics in the snow, hosting dinner parties with almost more dogs than people...
...and for now I just want all these things in my little corner of the U.S. I travel quite a bit with my band and because most of my family lives 3-5 hours away. I lived and traveled around the world as a child (Norway, France, Europe, etc.), and all over the country in my 20s (Boston, Idaho, Austin). I do love to travel and experience new things, but my instinct at this point in my life as I enter my 30s, unpredictable as instincts are, is to simplify and focus on things that are close, immediate, constant, and that I've known my whole life.
As Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros sing: "Home, yes I am home! Home is wherever I'm with you."