Yesterday, December 31, 2013, we flew home. While we ended the family pilgrimage that starts before Christmas and concludes with New Year we had the inexorable knowing of home again.
As we stood for an hour in the confused ticket line in Houston, as we passed through the long security line and as we dashed to the plane where the door was soon to close, we were pointed home. When our last flight turned for its final approach following the mountains descending to the flat spot between the lakes, I peered out the window and actually went back to reading the last few lines of a book chapter. Around us we could hear excited tourist gabbling accompanied by fingers pointing out the window. Their excitement was palpable. I was comfortable to complacency. I glanced up but mostly I knew what was out there.
We alighted from the plane into our now-familiar airport and in the elevator we meet a lovely mature lady who had arrived to visit friends. She needed assistance finding her way out to the baggage claim. It was the most natural thing in the world to walk her out making sure she received a warm welcome from our home community. We were home when we went to the parking lot and got into our car, not a rental car. We were home when we drove to our house, not a stranger’s house we rented or to a hotel.
The house has three floors and it has rafters. The walls are mostly sheathed and the roof will be next week. You can stand inside and know what each space will be. You can stand inside and imagine spring coming forth. You can imagine perhaps having windows by then. It will be a while before we can move in but it is a house that is our home. There is no evidence in our hearts of the fire that consumed our old home we loved as much as this one. Eighteen months wandering as we re-start our lives that burned in the Charlotte-Mink Creek fire has brushed the ashes off of our psyches. It is a real event and it sometimes is painfully real, but this home is new and fresh and welcoming. It is not our house burned by wildfire.
Even as we left the in-progress house and headed to a neighboring town to move into a hotel for a while, I still knew we were home. My heart was stamped with the crest of this place. Its dirt, its trees, its rocks, its snow, its gray days and even its seasonal tourist traffic have worked their way under my skin.We begin 2014 with what we did not have in 2013. A home.