The scent of cinnamon and coffee combined with a late afternoon sun that made me slide on my sunglasses though I was indoors in the coziness of my local coffee shop together with the softness of my scarf draped around my shoulders linked my mind to something comfortable and familiar….something I had to reach for a bit, like a word on the tip of my tongue before the sensation found definition.
It felt like home.
I was meeting my Italian teacher who has become a new friend at Spruce Confections, my local coffee shop. When she arrived we talked about all the places we have been, with the heady smell of baking wafting in the background, beginning with Italy and the trips we still long to make. We compared the East Coast to Colorado and she told me about a trip she had made to Nepal years ago. She then confided “I am an escape artist,” and I knew instantly what she meant. Sometimes language becomes unnecessary and despite unique circumstances and separate lives, there is a sharing of the most intimate kind, an awareness that we had walked similar paths together, though at different times.
And speaking of home, paths, and escape, I walked in the woods late in the afternoon last Sunday, a 70 degree December day here in Boulder, where the sun filtered through the trees like a goddess shedding light and wisdom, and her truth struck me smack dab in my eyes, and my heart opened almost as wide as it opens in camel pose, and emotion overwhelmed me in delicious waves. Is late afternoon on a fall or winter day not the most extraordinary of ordinary? The sun hits a peak blinding our eyes and startling our souls and then within seconds, the air chills, the glow disappears, swallowed up by dusk, the warmth all but forgotten.
On that day, I thought, “I am here now, this is my home,” and in the same breath, as I exhaled I whispered, “for now.”
Learning to escape is a beautiful thing. Like a butterfly that exits her cocoon and lifts her wings to gently glide in the spring air, human beings that know when to go, when to seek, have a certain peace in their very being. And, I don’t believe this a fairy tale I’ve chosen to tell myself.
Moving across the country had a delightful side effect on me; I’ve learned that I can do this again should I so chose. I can move to where I most need to go to feed my soul. Starting over in a new place is very difficult, very, very difficult, but the riches received are without compare. I don’t think I overstate when I say that embarking on a new path is what brought meaning to my life. Along the way, I learned that living is a solo experience, that we cannot know what tomorrow will bring, and in the oddest of ways this has freed me from weighty constraints and pointed me to possibility.
It has helped me find home.
Yesterday, I bought items to feather my Boulder nest: a new painting, one that screamed for me to take it home with the simplest of quotes, “Remember who you are;” a side table for my dining room made of recycled wood but that gently fits with what I already have; lamps for my bedroom and new throw pillows for my couch. I’ve brought to consignment old furniture and clothing, happily gave my hockey equipment to a grateful young boy, and shed the burden of inertia.
Of course I unpacked when I moved to Boulder, but my basement and my garage and cabinets were rather scattered affairs, something I would get to later, but then I never did. Without knowing it, I was living in a transitionary state, somewhat akin to when I travel and leave most of my clothing in my suitcase, only removing what I need.
My lessons in Italian come from a long distance love affair of this country that continues to grow, the lava from Stromboli seeming to join the blood in my veins, and I know that I will escape there again soon. Learning to say Come stai, molto bene, il presto, buonasera, Mi chiamo, and count uno, due, tre and all the culture I am absorbing with the language, like memories of sweet butter lettuce and buffalo mozzarella and prosciutto, reminds me of the early days in a new relationship, the haziness of love and tenderness with which we explore building the foundation for our future days hand in hand.
I believe I am destined to be the lover of land, a lover of places, places that take my breath away, allowing me to escape to the deeper meaning I chose to give my existence, spots that hold my hand and allow me to be….me. I do my best not to question such things, because some things don’t make sense, they just are.
My roots are growing, and I imagine them as deep and spreading vastly across this beautiful world. The climate of today’s home fits, like the most comfortable pair of blue jeans. My friends here may be new, but they know a me that few from my past fully recognize. Like a vine with good fertilizer I’ve spread myself across this Colorado soil.
This decision to escape to a new life was also the decision to give permission to myself to grow some new wings and try a different flight pattern. Once the risk has been taken to escape, the awareness of it’s intrinsic possibility never leaves. The sweetness of the word home becomes grand when we discover that we can make our home in multiple places. We know that life is an evolution and we join the flowing stream rather than fighting it’s current.
The formica table of the coffee shop table held my purse, my notebook, and my elbows as I learned the language of amore, and the wrought iron chair fit my body nicely. I inhaled the words of a foreign country that mingled in the Boulder air, thought about escape and sighed, “How lovely. I’m home.”