May long weekend, 2009
D and I showing off our mad skillz (some summer)
Me, K, S, after swimming in the frigid, barely ice-free waters (May long, 2009)
Sometimes in the summer it's too hot to sleep inside. So we don't. (some summer)
(the frightening waterfall I had to be pulled off, and ever since have treated with the utmost respect. It is much, much larger than it appears here)
I had a short conversation with my father a couple of nights ago (most of my conversations tend to be short. D says it's because I say these inane comments once in a while that just kill off any further discussion and leave the recipient pondering their options) and he said that he misses his home town. He said it is perfectly natural to miss the place you grew up in, to grow melancholy and homesick and reminisce and dream about returning someday. I laughed out loud. I told him, Father, I will never have that problem.
Why? he answered.
Because I don't have a hometown, silly, I replied, I do daydream about living other places but I am not tied to one place like you.
I feel like a refugee here, he said.
I always feel like a refugee, I told him, And when I travel I think I am constantly searching for a place to call home.
He was silent.
I hadn't meant to blame him for that. In fact, I am thankful for the amount of "hometowns" we have experienced in my lifetime...thankful for the love of movement and exploration that has been instilled in me.
So I don't have a hometown. But I do think I have a place that is close. Most summers of my life, I someway or another end up coming back here. My mother spent her childhood summers here. It is in the Rocky Mountains, and my grandparents have a cabin on a lake. The summer I was 18, I was given a key to this cabin, and it provided such a sense of support, as though I had a wall at my back, or a cave I could always shelter in- if I needed to run I now had a place I could run to. The lake is undeveloped, crystal-clean and very deep, as only mountain lakes can be, and not too cold. When you first step out of the car, the air is dusty but sharp with blackened pine-trees in the heat. The smell of musty lake-shore, of rotting wood and gasoline is ever present, but the true smell of the place for me is this:
drying towels and wet swimsuits
sunscreen and sweat and salt
rock and bushes and
So many memories are tied into every atom of the lake's existence: of tanned childhood summers spent barefoot and wild in the forest, sleeping outside, winters sledding down the road, walks along the verge and running from bears, balancing across the river's bridge, the magic of diamonds sparking off the icy waterfall and being too afraid to jump, fishing and swimming underwater with eyes open and seeing green and grey and half-believing I was a mermaid, a pack of us cousins being left behind for a week and cooking, cleaning, pretending to be adult.
I dream of it often. The dreams are always different, some dramatic, like adventure stories with fires and floods, others disturbing with death and development, most just aspects of life, but never have I had a nightmare about it. It is special. Spiritual. Sacred.
I don't feel like a refugee when I am there.