I recently decided to partake in the WordPress Photography Course: Developing Your Eye.
The first assignment is called, “Home”, and the object is to display a photograph of what home means to you. Ironically, I recently wrote a blog post titled HOME, that reveals my feelings about the word. For me, Home is not something that can be photographed, but is something that is within.Something like nostalgia. However, I figured that since the United States in general, was my home for many years, that a flag of the country would suite the assignment well.
This photograph was captured last summer in Iowa, after a stormy day. The sun decided to peak its head out from under the clouds, just before it disappeared beyond the horizon. The sunset wasn’t a particularly impressive one, but the flag stood tall on our hill in that moment, dancing in the wind and glowing in the evening rays. It was breathtaking. At that time, almost a year ago to date, I had no inkling whatsoever, what the coming year would bring. That we would leave behind that cherished land to embark on the new adventure that is now ours, in Ecuador.
Below the photo, is my writing about Home.
Happiness is settling in. I’m beginning to sense the fuzzy edges of contentment. The warm, comforting feeling that quietly creeps through the soul of one who has found their way “home”.
It has long been said that “Home is where the heart is.” There is certainly some truth to that and it’s a concept I’ve given substantial thought to in recent months.
Until then, “home” was still just a word for me that was linked to memories of my childhood abode. It conjured thoughts of the barefoot days of my youth, the innocence of afternoons spent laying in the soft cool,grass..face to the sky, making creatures of clouds in the perfect blue abyss. A brick-red house fringed with mature trees, nestled perfectly in the center of a manicured, rectangular lot. It was the sound of clothes on the line flapping in the breeze, the smell of crisp, tart apples ripening in the sun.
It indeed WAS a location, a space that I had not personally occupied in the past 10 years since my parents had sold it. My heart ached when I learned of the sale, and since that day..I have struggled to accept a new locale that could be worthy of its humble title.
I have lived in many cities and dwellings since that time, most of which were nothing more to me than just that…a dwelling. Except for two. The house that my husband and I purchased together before we got married. That house held our story. We entered those door jambs as husband & wife, we introduced our newborn children to the world there. We painted, rejuvenated, and rescued that historic home together. We became “Us” there. And then we outgrew it just a few years later.
I cried…maybe even wailed when we moved out. It was hard for me to move on past those iconic moments that symbolized the blossoming of our family. My husband thought I was crazy. He was too busy securing the future, to be held by the past. The “new” house was everything we had dreamed of. He had picked it out just for me…knowing that I would be resistant to every place but the last, and understanding that I would come to love everything about it. And he was right. I did. I fell in love with that house, that land, that huge pond…the garden, the flowers, the birds and the wildlife. I fell in love, fast and hard, and I imagined that we would spend the next 50 years or more together there. We both believed that it was our forever home.
And then life happened. With everything that it entailed, time led us to put our beloved home, house, and property on the market just over a year later.
No one was more surprised than me, when I agreed to move to Ecuador. I learned a lot about myself and the lack of value in things. You know, “stuff”, material possessions. It was then that I began to understand that memories are within oneself and have absolutely no dependence on any item, piece of property, or location. Life happens within us, and therefore can be carried everywhere..even in the absence of photographs and chachkies.
Since we arrived in Ecuador in late February, we have lived in 3 different homes in 3 different cities. In all of them, we have been renters. It is unlikely that our current location will be permanent, or at least we don’t expect it to be. Despite all of this, I am the first to admit dismay, when I started to feel “at home” this past week. How can I feel at home when this isn’t “home”? Well, it turns out that the wise, old saying that says “Home is where the heart is” has a lot more merit then I had ever given it credit for. I can’t explain why it feels like home or exactly when this feeling emerged. What I can tell you, is that I like who we are here. I like the way our family has evolved. I walk around with happiness and peace in my heart, joy and gratitude for each day. I feel a sense of warmth in this community. It feels like we belong here.
Home and happiness can be found anywhere. Happiness is a choice. When we choose to be happy wherever we are, we allow our hearts to find “home” independent of a physical location.
I am so grateful to have been liberated by this new form of personal enlightenment. And it’s also pretty nice that the location my feet have led me to, agree with the contentment of my heart.
It feels good to be HOME.