© 2011 . All rights reserved. Wooden Shingles with Moss

There’s No Place Like Home

 

I came home from my first day back to work to a strangely quiet house.  After a summer of sharing my home with my children, their relatives, their dogs, their friends, even their friends’ dogs, our nest is almost empty again.

The dorm dweller has packed her things, and taken a trip up north.  She will return only long enough to move her belongings back to the residence hall.

The day after my son finished his bar exam his wife found out she was hired for a teaching position in Washington D.C.  Yippee!  Then… Yikes!  She needed to report to work a week and a half later, so the theoretical issue of where they would live became all too real.  After many phone calls and a good measure of panic they secured an apartment, and a few days later we were loading the trailer and heading to the Capital.

As we travelled into greener pastures I entertained thoughts of never returning to this sun-scorched land I call home.  Though normally a cold-natured soul, at times this summer I felt like a prisoner in my own home due to the intense heat.  My garden wasn’t the source of joy it usually is, instead every trip outside became a rescue mission.  My wilting plants taunted me, I felt like a lone nurse in a ward full of patients who all needed emergency care.

The view outside our truck windows became greener as we travelled east.  We made a side trip along the way to find this monument.

The statue was erected in 1937 and commemorates some of my husband’s ancestors and their contributions to the settlement of that part of Tennessee. The statue faces west, portraying the westward movement of pioneers. Settlement in this area represented the pioneers’ first foray into territory west of the Allegheny Mountains, which is why that area of Tennessee is known as the ”First Frontier.”

I teach American History and am well acquainted with the idea of Westward Expansion, but when faced with the the sight of rolling hills and flowing rivers it’s hard to understand what possessed those settlers from years past to leave green and beautiful places like North Carolina,  Virginia and Tennessee to come to dry and windy West Texas.

Our young settler’s were taking the opposite approach.  In May they waved goodbye to the Pacific Ocean and the sands of Malibu.  After over a two month study interlude in West Texas their eastward journey came to an end at a high-rise apartment building near the Potomac River.  Not quite an ocean-to-ocean journey, but almost.

Though small in size, this apartment home offered some dream-come-true qualities to all its newest residents.

Daughter-in-law was delighted to have a shelf in the kitchen cabinets where her wedding china can reside.  I believe she enjoyed unpacking those boxes that had been stored at her parents’ house almost as much as she did unwrapping them at the wedding showers.

Pup was quite enamored with the view from the floor-to-ceiling windows.

A great assortment of dogs and their owners can be seen during the course of the day, and she seems happy to sit and watch them come and go for hours on end.

While pup spends her time looking down, my son, the Patriot of our family, couldn’t ask for a better view than the one he sees when he looks straight out his window.

Most of the monuments are visible from the living room, but from the balcony on the top floor the view is even better.

Add a zoom lens and you feel like you could wave good morning to the First Family.

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I began to see myself living that little fantasy. Thoughts of taking up permanent residence on the futon began to enter my mind. I could spent my days enjoying the rooftop pool and exercise room…

I’m home now. Dreams of gardening in a country where rain is abundant, or waking to a view of the Washington Monument from my bedroom have given way to the reality of home and work. My bedroom windows do not bring views of monuments, but I did wake up in the wee hours of the morning on Saturday to some unfamiliar sights and sounds.  Lightning flashed outside my windows, and rain could be seen splashing in the street.  As I stood looking out the window in surprise a feeling of intense thankfulness washed over me.  I was thankful for rain.  Maybe even thankful for the dry season that preceded it.  My spirit might not have appreciated the true pleasure of the wetness of raindrops without experiencing dryness of three-digit days.  And my children can soak up the blessing of HOME even more now after the “dryness” of a few months spent in limbo.

It is true,  There’s No Place Like Home.

3 Comments

  1. Posted 16 Aug ’11 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    laura, your writings make me miss you!! and your pictures make me miss my kids!! so glad your school year has started and you are up and out. so glad you were able to go SEE where your kids will be. so glad your thoughts from God are insights of life and you come out with your hands open. you are an inspiration to me and so many. hugs to you and can’t wait for us to all get together. it seems to have been a long summer. peace.

  2. Becky Rogers
    Posted 16 Aug ’11 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    Laura,
    Thank you for writing and sharing your experiences – your writing always touches my heart. I especially loved this entry and felt like I was there looking through those windows with you. Not only are you a HUGE blessing to my daughter, you are a blessing to me as well.
    Happy First Week of School!
    Becky

  3. Posted 27 Aug ’11 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    What beautiful pictures and how lucky they were to find a wonderful place like that so quickly. What a wonderful place and view to get started in life. But I am with you there is no place like home.

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