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"Home is wherever you say."

Home is where your stuff is. A heart can sing anywhere, away as well as home. The heart might long to perform on the most familiar stage, but it might better serve a wandering-in-the-wilderness soul, where it's the only familiar presence around. The Muse and I said our heartfelt goodbyes and pointed ourselves in the direction of where our stuff resides. Hardly a wilderness trip and stripped of the warm anticipation of our arrival Back Home, we satisfied our sacred responsibility and left. We'd see more family along the way, connecting in public places, and inhabit one more anonymous hotel room for one last foreshortened night. I might get up at two so I will be up to awaken The Muse at three so that we can head toward the airport around four. Once we relinquish the rental car, a machine takes over.

I travel heavier than I'd like to travel, my tool belt, work gloves, and old boots packed into the bottom of my bag.
We went Back Home for Spring maintenance which requires my grundgies as well as my public wardrobe. The place feels more like Home when I wear my paint-splattered shirt. The Muse can prune while wearing anything, but I require my special uniform. Our foray successful if measured by the abiding ache in my hands from days pruning fruit tree suckers. Kevin The Hauler carted away the residue. While there's always one more chore to do, we were through for this trip. I promised to return in a month or so to finally have a go at the front of the place I'd been promising to refinish for two years. I'll be back to live like a monk, straining different muscle groups, just after Easter, packed heavier than I'd prefer again.

We accomplish our ReEntering via a series of small ordeals familiar to anyone who travels. Travel between homes seems different than movement between other destinations. We weren't Just Visiting when we arrived Back Home, but ReEntering a place we'd once belonged to. We had not left a wholly anonymous point of origin, either, but the place where our stuff resides, our small 'h' home. The territory between the two has become too familiar, with little mystery remaining, different actors playing the same old roles. The rental car check-in agent. The Shuttle bus driver. The milling throngs of travelers within the terminal, each seeming to conspire to complicate each other's passage through. The corresponding throngs of TSA agents, each working diligently to contradict each other. The disrobing and redressing. The sniffer dog with the Do Not Pet sign on his back, leashed to vaguely mumbled directions, instructions, and warnings. The long hike down the concourse. The waiting. The boarding. The finding my seat. The friendly but firm flight attendant. The last minute middle seat claimer. The takeoff tension. The eternally impending turbulence ominence. The approach and landing relief. The baggage claiming. The train ticket machine that always requires an agent to look over your shoulder to explain how to operate it. The slow train ride back to Union Station. The light rail crawl out to the western-most suburbs. The familiar car ride home. Every actor different each time. Each scene familiar every time.

The ReEntering ordeal transforms a two hour flight into a six hour dedication test. We fetch the mail before ReEntering the familiar garage again. Home is where one's mail's delivered. We fix some breakfast around one then retire to sleep away the afternoon. Home is where your pillows live. I wake to find it late afternoon already. Slush on the trees tells me that a snow squall passed by while we slumbered. I put away some of the stuff I took on the trip. Home is where your stuff knows where it belongs. We fixed supper together. Home is where the larder's familiar and the cookware doesn't hide from you. We ate in our usual places and without being on public display. Home is where you're your own cook, waiter, dishwasher, and valet. Home is wherever you say.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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