Over the holidays my husband and I loaded up our Jeep with our English bulldog Rosy, a gigantic bag of Pirate's Booty (which I consumed within the first three hours) and the Serial podcast. We embarked on a 25 hour journey back to Iowa, where I grew up. We traveled through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma. We listened to 90s pop songs, stopped at Wes Anderson-worthy gas stations and watched the horizon change.
I've always loved a good road trip. Something about getting on a plane always felt abrupt to me. Wait, they frisked me, then I bought a magazine and now I'm on the opposite coast? Too much.
And driving into the little farm town I grew up in to the house I grew up in that my dad always grew up in and by the drugstore my grandfather started and my father and uncle ran? Priceless. (Yes, I'm that Iowan. And very proud of it by the way.)
I'm a very nostalgic person. Time baffles me. I'm not sure I have a great relationship with it. I look at the stump of a tree in our backyard and I see where our rope swing used to be. I remember slamming into said tree when we went too high.
I walk Rosy around the neighborhood and see the dilapidated house of one of our more "eccentric" neighbors who once, when I was just 11 years old, paid me twenty bucks to clean her garage. Well, she was a hoarder so that didn't go very well.
I crouch down to walk up the attic stairs and see movie posters on the wall I got for free at Captain Video and a trunk full of dress up clothes. I think, "Will this still be here when I have a child? Will she play up here?"
I look at my dad's laugh lines and kind blue eyes and well.. I cannot even go there.
I've always felt things really deeply. Like to the core. And it shakes and rattles me a bit. But one thing I know for sure, in that said core of mine, is that I carry this within me. Like the rings of a tree all all this is wrapped up inside me and it isn't going anywhere. That though my feet are planted firmly on the ground thousands of miles away, they are firmly planted because of where I'm from. I will never stop being from here.
My life of palm trees and green juice and ocean air... It's unrecognizable. Yet something in me recognized it and whispered "Yes." and it's exactly why I'm here.
And the questions will go unanswered until they don't. And I'll keep coming home until I can't. And I'm hold the sweetness and the sadness tight.
To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest.
― Pema Chödrön