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?