December 2012


I have just returned from a nine-day trip to parts of the U.S South. I went with a fun group of friends, saw a lot of beautiful scenery, and re-lived some stirring history of the area. All together it was a great trip and I will write about it one day. First, however, I want to write about the day after I came home. Well, actually, it was the day I came home as, by the time we finished playing airport tag, it was 2 a.m. when we got here.

It was cold, grey, and spitting snow as I walked through my backyard, carrying in wood to start my fire and warm up my world. Snowflakes smacked my face, my postponed garden clean-up would be further postponed, my hair would go straight and—I suddenly realized I was ridiculously happy at that moment.

Why?  Because I was home.  I think there may have been lists made of the most loved words in the English language. If there are, and home isn’t one of them, there has been a serious oversight. To me, home means many things—reassurance, comfort, peace, healing… That is but the beginning of the list.

Some wise person once made this often-quoted remark.  “Home is where they have to take you in.” That is certainly part of the secret. Family is forgiving. I have seen some very tough people who are all in favor of tougher laws, more discipline, etc., immediately turn to mush when the situation involves their child or grandchild. Like the Prodigal Son, when you have exhausted all other possibilities, there is always family.

In my case, the family waiting to take me in is fur-covered—and they had better take me in if they know who can operate the can opener! Still, in spite of having wonderful “cat-and-dog-sitters.” I think they were glad to see me. I know I was glad to see them. They are a big part of what makes home a home.

Home is also the house itself, with all its comforts, discomforts, and eccentricities. Home is the smell of wood smoke as I stoke the fire, the reassuring hum of furnace, refrigerator, and water pump, all telling me that my world is unfolding as it should.

Home is the pictures—mostly animals and scenery, a few of family, including one of my great-great-grandparents and great aunts and uncles looking stiff and stern in their Victorian best.

Home is the view out the big, out-dated picture window—by most standards no view at all, no sweeping vistas, just grass and the great old trees, standing guard over my world.
The world over, there are countless millions of people, who for one reason or another, have no home. I can scarcely imagine how sad this must be. For a smaller but appreciable number, home is “where they hang their hat.” They have no deep roots and feel no insistent tug pulling them back to some certain place. They can pull up stakes at a moment’s notice and make a new place home. In a way, I envy the freedom of these people, but it is not for me.

I am home. I am happy. I hope your home brings you happiness, too.

©2012 Marilyn Halvorson

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