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"I rarely underlook, if there's even such a word.
If there were such a word,
I'd define it as meaning a search undertaken directly beneath one's own nose …"

Even the finest home eventually comes to seem shabby and familiar. The Muse spotted a Home For Sale sign on our walk yesterday. Using her iPhone to access more information on the web, she learned that the owner was asking $4.5 Million. The nearly ten thousand square foot place included Eiger marble countertops, hand-scraped hickory floors, and state of the art electronic controls throughout. Even that place seems destined to seem shabby and familiar to anyone living there because living anywhere produces a personal footprint which eventually comes to seem shabby and familiar. Little habits and routines, even those rambling around nearly ten thousand square feet of space, tend to kind of tear up a place. Shortly after the Architectural Digest photographer leaves, the same old shabbiness returns.

The presence of visitors can spiff up a place.
Pairs of eyes unaccustomed to what the owner experiences as commonplace can essentially slap a fresh coat of paint on everything. An unbidden appreciation for one of their same old things can reanimate its presence and renew a long-forgotten appreciation. A change of season can accomplish as much, projecting fresh light from a window held too long in Winter's shadow. A simple walk around a rarely-visited part of the neighborhood can bring a home and its place back into good graces again. Much surrounding any home exists as fill-in-the-blank space. Beyond that corner where you never turn lies more than simply more of even more of the same. Without exploring there, who would ever know?

I project my contexts more than I ever discover them. Early days, sure, when I get lost every other time I leave the place, I tend to stumble into many interesting but quickly forgotten spaces. Territory discovered when on an unplanned detour tends to extinguish its presence quickly, often leaving hardly a crooked shred of memory. It eventually comes to seem as though everything surrounding the place simply must be just more of even more of the same, when it's most certainly much more and quite difference than that. Which day might insist that I leave the car behind and hop on the trusty old bike or my creepy old feet? Even slowing down can change more than perspective, but serve to actually transform a place from what I'd imagined it to be into one of the trillion as yet undiscovereds it might be instead.

We are fortunate to live in the middle of a game preserve featuring many trails, only a very few of which we've ever found it convenient to explore. My one-speed bike serves as hardly a match for the steep and narrow twisty two lanes surrounding us, so I often catch myself simply discounting any notion of alternate transportation. I talk myself out of even small adventures which might leave me in some minor distress or, more likely, which might enable me to rediscover this home. Some days, The Muse might drag me out of my writer's coma. Others, I might drag her. The breaking Spring weather encourages us to finally venture beyond the perimeter we understandably felt necessary to defend through Winter's ruder intrusions. Now, though, sunshine and sweet breezes beacon.

We managed a five mile trudge yesterday. Up to the top of our neighborhood mountain then down again. Then, along a trail that had been hiding in plain sight for years but never before traversed. We found wildflowers and saw the neighborhood buffalo herd across the broad freeway, then decided to extend the hike to head over to see the buffalo closer. The neighborhood listserv had reported baby buffs. How could we deny this call? By the time we'd trudged around to where the buffalo were, the herd had moved over to where we'd originally sighted them from. Bastards! The purpose of the hike, though, had not originally been to watch baby buffalo roam, but to extend what we knew as home. We walked by the lovely Chief Hosa Lodge (pictured above),a presence we hardly ever recognize as being in our vicinity, discovered three new trailheads and another previously unknown buffalo overlook, and finally experienced that fancy new paved trail opened last year. All conveniently located right here at home.

Home is where perspective narrows. We travel far with our eyes wide open in wonder, then sometimes wonder why our perspectives narrow when closer to home. It's the same wide-open, potentially wonderful world wherever we roam, even when we wander close to home. Yesterday morning, I'd convinced myself that I knew just where I lived. By sunset, I'd begun to question my earlier certainly. I suspect that however much I might explore, near or far, I will probably have overlooked most of even what comes to seem familiar and shabby. I rarely
underlook, if there's even such a word. If there were such a word, I'd define it as meaning a search undertaken directly beneath one's own nose; ReDiscoveringHome.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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