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Friday, October 22, 2010

Camp

What makes home "home?"  Is it where you live most of the time? Or is it something more? Does "home" include emotions, a feeling of attachment, memories or something else? I believe that it is all these things and more.
For some people, "home" is not the place we were born, but a special place that we have grown to love.  A place where we have found comfort and a sense of what our life is about. A good home teaches us a bit about who we are. On the surface we know ourselves by our relationships. We're somebody's "little girl," or we are an older or younger sister - sometimes both at the same time. We learn about ourselves by the things we do with our family members . . . like that time Mom and Dad took us to buy a pumpkin.  Mom had her favorite pumpkin market so that is where Dad drove us.
When we arrived at the pumpkin patch, not only were there pumpkins of every size and color, but there were hot apple fritters freshly fried and covered in cinnamon and sugar. We ate our fill, wiping our sticky fingers on paper napkins. Other families were loading pumpkins onto wheelbarrows in the field. Children ran up and down the rows of orange globes searching with their parents for the perfect potential jack-o-lantern.

Later in life, as we grow up, we define ourselves more by who our friends are, who we date or marry, what our own adult home is like and who our children have become.  These external things are only part of who we are.  They are important, but there is more to us.  There is what is inside, what we feel, What we fear and how we love. 
Sometimes we need to return home to remember these things - to remember who we are and what we care about. 
Just being there brings back our memories, both old and very recent. It is here that I remember our parents when they were the vital vibrant couple who raised me and my two sisters. I remember bringing my own daughters here to play with their many cousins,
The heavy, metal row boat now lies silent against an overgrown bank but in my mind, my husband, who so much likes to be alone, sits in the boat, quietly rowing it across the cold clear water. I watch him row out of sight, trees and shrubs hiding him and the boat as he slides out of our cove, around the point.
The dock that now appears empty isn't empty at all for I see my girls running full speed off the end of the dock then jumping into the water, unlike my mother who complains of the cold, cold water as she slowly makes her way into the lake then gently swims out to our dock.
Being here calms me down.  This is my rest, my retreat, my home.  What is it about this place that calls out to me and claims me as its own?  Is it the beauty? For it surely is beautiful.  Could it be scenery alone that explains my attachment? No, it is much more than trees and dark water that draw me in, wrapping arms around me like my mother's arms, comforting, protecting.
When I drive around, there are more memories that I enjoy recalling.  The apple orchards selling tart, crisp New York apples fill me with good feelings.
Rows of yellow and green apples in orchards that seem not to have changed in thirty years.
Farm fields are still green where corn still grows tall against a backdrop of autumn leaves
 And the lake . . .the lake never changes
It is the lake that I most want to stay the same. . .
Small homes built back from the shore keep the lake the way I remember it.

But I know nothing stays the same.  New homes are built, the shoreline changes.
Everything changes. Families change. My parents are no longer here when we come. My sisters and I live far from our lakeside camp. 
Winter comes hard to the lake. Cold weather arrives and we leave the dock empty.
Winter comes. No longer does our family sit on the patio. . . 
watching the sun go down.

But I am here now. Alone I watch the sun set one last evening for tomorrow I will lock the doors and leave - 
- leave the lake and leave my memories behind if  only for awhile. Right now I am here. Right now I can think about who I've become - who I am. I can hear myself talking quietly from somewhere deep within.
For now, I can stand here, at the top of the stairs, watch the sun set one last time.
For just one moment more. . .





**These are not really my memories, my thoughts. I wrote this borrowing my friend's life and her love of "home" in order to write feelings I share about my own "home(s)."  Most of us have a special place that feels right; a place that we didn't choose, it chose us. It is a place where we feel most right.  I have probably fictionalized some of her thoughts, being that I am not her. I don't hear her voice-from-within as well as she does. But I do hear it and sometimes it sounds much like my own. I thank her for sharing her "home" with me.  From my photos and words, I hope you can see some of what I saw, why she loves this place, why she let herself be chosen.

       

3 comments:

mary said...

Nelle, This one is really special.

Summer said...

Wow, I just don't get tired of your work. I recommended it to some coworkers, we looked at it together on friday! They love it too.

Beyond The Garden said...

Thank you Summer and Mary and thank you Summer for calling it "work."