What makes a place feel like home? Is it somehow just that we decide it is? Or is there something more to the equation of heart + place = home?
For most of my life, home has been near or at the ocean. Born in, and I'm not making this up, Oceanside, California, my parents claim they took me to the sea a few days after birth and dipped my tiny toes in the Pacific, who would watch over me, or would I watch over her, for years afterward.
Much later, I moved to Stockholm, Sweden, another ocean home, only this time, it was the Baltic. Briney, deep and green, the Baltic cradled my bare 19 year old body on more than one moonlight swim with my lover. As Swedish became a familiar and fairly fluent second language, I grew closer to the people whose language I was speaking, and felt quite at home at the Swedish shore. I wanted to live in Stockholm forever. But Things have a way of happening . . .
After the Baltic was through with me, I returned to Southern California, and lived for many years on an island. Nestled in Newport Harbor, Balboa Island became home in a way no place had ever been. I took walks around the island nearly every night, with my dog-like cat, Magic, walking along beside me, no leash! I knew many folks in my neighborhood, and found a small taste of community there for the first time. No trip to the small corner grocery was complete without greeting at least a few people by name, and that felt incredibly good to a kid who grew up in disconnected Orange County suburbia. I wanted to live on Balboa Island forever.
But, life being Life, I found myself leaving the island. I'll give you the short version and say I moved to the midwest for love, about as in-the-middle of this country as one can get, literally. Des Moines, Iowa. To be sure, there are great beauties in Iowa, but there is no ocean, and ocean is my home. Try as I did for 12 years to call it home and mean it, and even though my son was born there, I finally had to admit I couldn't stay forever.
So THEN, through a series of fairly amusing and interesting events, and for love, again . . .I landed in Newburyport, Massachusetts, which has, the last time I looked around, an OCEAN nearby. Ahhhh. YES. Finally, I am home again, though having taken the looooong way home, circumnavigating the country to arrive where I started, at the Source.
This time, the Source has lead me to an amazing community of like-minded and like-hearted people with whom I've begun to share something of myself. For a woman who has taken some comfort in making herself invulnerable in many ways, it's a giant step toward a new way of being. Clear to me is that I've lived in isolation for far too long and the time has come to correct course. Most telling is the happiness I feel when I'm around this beautiful group of souls, who have decided to come together to create an intentional community. I love these people.
One thing's for certain as I look back at my trajectory around this globe and around my heart: I'm not afraid to let love move me.
I left home for love, and love brought me home.
That sounds about right.