Tuesday, April 17, 2012

No Place Like Home

Do you ever get over your childhood?  A few months ago. Bear had an assignment in school: bring pictures from home or the internet of 5 of the most beautiful places on earth to make a collage.  My mind immediately went to the Rocky Mountains and the Intermountain West.  THE most beautiful place on earth, if you ask me.  We have spent a good amount of time in the Rockies during summers of Bear's childhood.  Then there was Guam, and plenty of beautiful places we have visited in Japan.  And of course, Grandma & Grandpa N's farm.  Another beautiful place in my life.  Imagine my surprise when Bear announced that the only place he wanted a picture of was our house and yard in Illinois!

We are ten days from our one year anniversary in Japan.  Truly, I have loved every day of it.  Maybe not every minute, or even every hour, but every day I have been happy to be here.  I miss my family, of course, but I didn't see them much in the US either (even you - Will & Sam!  We saw you more than the others, but it was still only every few months).  Our one year anniversary means that I have now spent every season in Japan.  As sakura season comes to a close, and the warmth of spring begins to prevail, I am beginning a season in Japan for the second time.  Somehow, this makes it lose some of its newness and excitement.  I am feeling homesick.  I sang "America the Beautiful" and "My Country 'Tis of Thee" all the way home from Costco this morning.  I miss my garden in Illinois.  I miss buying seeds at Menard's and seedlings at Kelly Seed.  I miss the fire pit we dug two years ago and my little magnolia tree in bloom.  I miss grocery shopping at Kroger.  I miss Johnny, and he wasn't even really mine!  I miss the Wastach front in the springtime.  I miss feeling warmth in the air, but seeing Mt. Timpanogas still covered in snow.  I miss rollerblading on the Provo River trail.  And, most of all, I think, I miss our Idaho farm.  I miss the comforting smell of my horses and being covered in horse hair as they lost their winter coats.  I miss the velvety feel of their muzzles and the way they closed their eyes and dozed as I brushed them.  I miss the spring in their step as they also reveled in the glory of springtime.  I miss cantering along the dirt road through Shulsen's farm off the 200 East road.  I miss wandering the cow paths on the old farm and the the way the banks of the canals had eroded from years of cattle making their way down to drink.  I miss exploring in the Russian Olives.  I miss feeding the calves and the feeling of their rough tongues sucking my hand.  I miss the haystacks.  Springtime is a time of renewal and looking forward, but I find my heart aching for times long past.

When I thought about it for a moment, it made me happy that Bear thought of Illinois as one of the most beautiful places on earth.  That means he spent a happy seven years at our little midwestern homestead.  Illinois had not made my list, but to him, it was beautiful.  I suppose it is possible that southern Idaho is not so beautiful to those who do not know it well, but to me, the remembrance of it at least, will always feel like home.

I know that our time in Japan will go quickly.  When someday we leave, I will look back with longing again.  That is the problem, and the blessing, of living in many places.  You leave pieces of your heart wherever you go.  

Tell me, what do you miss from your childhood?


christy said...

From AL I miss the heat and all the rain. I love thunderstorms. I miss the people and the accent. I miss cottonfields and boiled peanuts as well as the annual peanut festival. I miss the FL beaches we went to every year! I think we always miss the innocence and wonders of childhood no matter where we were.

I miss the beautiful rolling hills and farms in MD as well as our huge wonderful yard. My kids miss that yard too.

My kids don't really remember CA but I miss the rocks, beaches and sealife there.

I feel at home in UT. I think the mountains and big skies are comforting and beautiful. The kids like it here too. We have been here longer than any other home. The renters asked our kids what they like about living here and they said "everything".

Charity said...

I miss springtime in IN, and summers spent roaming free at home, and the way the weather runs the show in the winter (especially in a rural area), and everything about fall.
I miss the mayflowers covering the floor of the woods, and gathering armloads of wild phlox, and filling vases with them all over the house.
I miss swimming in the creek in summer, and later, in the pool. Ward parties in the meadow, with softball, or kickball.
I miss snow days in the winter, when we really were stuck at home, and we'd have a fire in the fireplace, and bundle up and go sledding in the afternoon.
I miss the fall too. Watching the world around me change colors, the fields of corn dry up and disappear, the sound of the crunching leaves beneath my feet.

I loved your piece, and I think you're right. I know the Midwest isn't beautiful to many people (I hear about it more often than I care to, and I'm not talking about from you), but it's my home, where my memories are held, and that's why I love it.

Lindsey said...

I think one of the reasons I am so happy in Illinois (yep, I said it!) is because it reminds me of Ohio, where I grew up. Maybe our hearts always long for the place of our childhood.

I love strawberry-picking in the early summer and apple-picking in the fall. I love evening walks in the summertime, and I love swinging in the backyard while the birds chirp happily. And there's definitely something beautiful about corn fields and tractors. The midwest makes me happy.

Thanks for giving me the chance to think about this, Rachel. Have a great 2nd year in Japan. We miss you!

kelsey said...

Well said about leaving pieces of your heart everywhere you live. I certainly have and will even in Texas despite my complaining.

I miss the grass in Idaho, and if I didn't have a newborn needing my attention, I would give a much longer list. Oh, one that just popped into my head--remember playing in a truck load of rolled grain--legs sinking in the warm, sweet-smelling, and itchy depths. I can't remember if that was a regular or one time experience as a child, but it definitely made an impression.

Samantha said...

This was a really lovely post, Rachel. Beautifully written. I really like reading your posts.
I live right around where I grew up, but if I thought it would be more interesting I would post the things I missed whenever I wasn't living here. Chicago itself would be one of them.