...she found herself drifting back through her past like someone wandering through an old house.~Anne Tyler (From French Braid)
It was the sight of the emerald St. Augustine grass springing up against the gray, weathered gate that brought it all back. The blazing sun, arctic white clouds and wide sky, too, that caused me to travel through time. I hadn't been to Texas in over a decade. Memories don't evaporate just because you move away. Location leaves an imprint. I relished being back. Remembered the cicadas singing in the early evening. The crepe myrtles, standing in almost every yard, like airy pink and white bouquets. Live oak and pine trees. Brick homes resembling the one I grew up in. It was as if I'd been welcomed by an old friend there, and I kept trailing my hand across her shoulders as a touchstone, reminding myself that I was home again.
Being in Texas made me think of the places I've lived, how they leave a faint watermark on one's life, and how it can feel more and more difficult to find comfort in a world that feels less and less like home.
Sometimes, though, it's the simplest things that bring solace, like that span of green grass. And surely we find home in people we know and love, the web of lines that appears around your husband's eyes when he smiles. Our routines. The fragrance of dish soap when we wash the plastic bowl that can't go in the dishwasher. Reading. The feel of a dog's silky ear. The sound of the newscaster's familiar voice. The pretty meteorologist. What dress will she wear this evening? She never repeats an outfit! And she's gotten highlights. The spicy bite on our tongues from "Taste China," the restaurant within walking distance of our home. The feel of the New Testament, its red leather cover cracked and peeling, that falls open to the book of John. A pot of sunflowers on the dining table. Blue bic pens sitting atop books in the study. The "Garden of Eden"-scented candle that perfumes the house. The hum of the clothes dryer. The sun gliding through the blinds, creating shadowy stripes on the wood floor.
Feelings of safety. The sigh of relief when we walk through the door and throw our coat over the chair in the entryway. Watermarks. Delicate. Indelible. Home.