I take my first steps into the U-haul and feel excited and ready for the adventure. I feel like a settler going out West for Yukon gold. Yet as I continue to pass places I’ll never see, smell, or hear again, my spirit slowly fades and changes. The tears start welling up and I try to hide them. I won’t see trees the way I did that late summer day, already starting to morph into hues of crimson. The bluest of skies their canvas. I won’t ever smell a purple lilac or experience the Northern cardinal.
The next day, as we traverse the Midwest’s corn fields the feelings of sadness still linger but excitement of the unknown is starting to creep in. We continue our journey across the plain lands, over the Rockies and into the desert. Places I’ve never seen before.
As life in a new town settles and the excitement wanes, I suddenly realize I’ve entered into a whirlwind of unknown circumstances at every level. From the small and insignificant — I can’t find the Marshmallow Fluff I was used to back home — to the bigger, “How do you survive on glimpses of the future?” This is my life not just for the space between settled and home but forever. I will also be a pioneer. I am never going back and I suddenly realize I’ve left everything I knew to be safe. So I set out to find it in LA. Something that reminds me of home.
Something that means that I am still who I know “me” to be.
I scurry around town finding places that remind me of safety, comfort, and home. I find them in the consistent rolls of the ocean waves, the sound of a gurgling stream or the smell of pine. And yet they are fleeting. I can’t bottle them up and carry them around with me because what I must comes to terms with is that there is no safe place. That’s the agreement I made. The very definition of pioneer.
I share these thoughts with my husband, who happens to be a very good listener. I feel safe divulging my deepest feelings and thoughts. I feel at home wrapped up in his arms. Comforted by the fact, that he doesn’t care that I’m crying all over his shirt or that it’s being used as a tissue either. And then I suddenly realize that I don’t need to go searching for anything.
Home is where the heart is. I gave it away and I must remember I can go back to it any time I want. Because I left it with my husband. The heart of the man who loves me. This is my one safe place.
(This was written in 2009 but experiences that date all the way back to when we first set out for California in 2002.)