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Homing ...

"Family catches up with us, not the other way around."

Homing pigeons have nothing on me, or on any of us. A serviceable homer might reliably return to a familiar place, but people can return to places they've never been to before. Home moves like a spinning kaleidoscope for us, vectoring overlays, a twisting Venn diagram casting a wide variety of shadows. Our home seems like a mobile home, unlike the old home place which passed out of the family after my mom sold off the back forty to the neighbor with the perennially remodeling house, the shabbiest place on the block, clear evidence that she was vacating her once prominent good judgement. Before, family would gather there and feel as though we were home. After, our previous concept of home shifted and still refuses to settle.

Home seems more concept than place now, contingent upon who's present more than where we congregate.
Our oldest granddaughter (the GrandOtter), has been visiting The Muse and I for thirteen years by my count. Starting as an eight year old arriving with a Paddington Bear destination tag pinned to her lapel, watched over by flight attendants to ensure that she navigated the plane changes in Minneapolis and Seattle. Now, she's twenty-one and we reconnect via app, my iPhone pinging me as she exits the airport escalator into the arrival hall. Then, I must have seemed a big, rather scary adult. Now, I feel more her peer, and we comfortably consider the world we share on the long train ride home. Her arrival always seemed to transform our house into more of a home, The Muse and I elevated to the role of responsible adults again, grateful for the sudden shift.

Family always comes with healthy doses of responsibility. Its presence can turn any old hovel into a home. It's absence can turn any old home into a genuine hovel. We home in on each other to transform our hovels into homes. No pigeon can do that, the very act of alighting turning a location into the intended destination. The Muse has invited a raft of her family to converge on our hovel, purportedly to celebrate Halloween together. (Since when did Halloween become more celebration than defensive obligation?) Their presence will ennoble this humble Villa. Lucky us!

Family seems as fragile as a feather floating downward from frantic wing action. It also seems sturdy, immutable, essentially unchangeable, dependent only upon a common convergence point. Each member arrives repleat with baggage, their usual, of course, but also with a fresh carry-on or two. We catch up, which seems to materially misrepresent what actually occurs. Family finally catches up with us, not the other way around. Homing.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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