Echoes of Home

As I’m trying to settle back in from my latest travels, I find myself growing restless.  Every chance to drive somewhere triggers that “highway call.”  That “road fever.”  And a simple trip to the grocery carries with the temptation to just keep on driving.  Doesn’t really matter where.  Just need to be in motion.

So, I headed out to the closest trail to take in some of the sunshine of these ever-shortening days.  Stretch my legs.  Moving meditation.  Mind a drift.  Day dreams of far away places.

There’s only one lengthy trail nearby and it sort of weaves in and out of the countryside while skirting this small Midwestern town.  And as I walk, it occurs to me that I’ve called this place “home” for four years now – to this date exactly.  I had never really intended to stay.

A temporary hold-over while I adjusted to the loss of my prior home.  A marriage destroyed by my partner’s alcoholism.  She refused all attempts at getting help.  It’s not easy watching someone you love self-destruct, but life does go on.  It has to.

In these past four years, I worked a little over a year and half before internal and external backstabbing saw my position handed off to someone else as a political favor. Age discrimination brought the career to an early demise.  All-in-all, though, it’s been ok.  Probably a blessing.

So, I loaded up the car and drove.  And I’ve been on the road now for at least a year of those remaining eighteen months.  Exploring, rediscovering, breathing again.  Stopping back here periodically to rest up, repack, and move on again.

Other places had that homey feeling.  Sort of like you grew up there and fit in.  Like you could stay and be content.  I never bothered to get to know this town.  I hadn’t planned on fitting in.  Still don’t care to.  But here I am.

Today, I diverged from the natural part of the trail that follows a stream through the woods and headed into the heart of this unknown downtown.  What is this place where I’m hanging my hat?  Where I know no one.

It strikes me that there are a number of features that are universal to the places I’ve been.  Of course, there’s a “Main Street.”  But there’s always a Broadway, Euclid, Park, Oak, Maple, Elm, and 1st through 10th streets.   There’s always a Memorial Park and a Veterans Park.  Plaques and signs from the local Chamber of Commerce.  Lion’s Club, VFW, JCs.  Sometimes a local chapter of the Confederate Sons or Daughters.

While there’s going to be a cemetery or two, I was surprised to the see that the street leading through the main cemetery was named “Dyer.”  Some weird twist to that one. Some cemeteries don’t even name the roads running through them.

There’s always a part of town that’s lined with restored Victorian homes, and a part where the same style homes are decaying.  Where you could drop a hammer on the roof and it would fall through every floor to the basement.

There are always some nice people sitting out on old porch swings that will wave and say hello.  And there are a few front porches and alleyways occupied by people who I wouldn’t want to run into at night.  Or maybe even right now in broad daylight.  They eye me as an invader of their turf.  A hush descends.  I keep moving.

Downtown businesses are mostly closed on a day you’d expect them to be open, except for the bars.  And there’s one of those on every corner.   All busy at 2:00 in the afternoon.  Not much else to do around here I guess.

Half of the shops are going out of business.  Booming economy is nowhere near here.  An old antique shop says it’s having a “retirement” sale.  Sixty to seventy percent off.  But it’s closed with no hours posted.

The streets closed for the farmer’s market open again as the last pickup drives off.  I think there will be some type of Halloween parade on these streets next weekend. Parades and high school bands always a staple.

I can always find the courthouse by looking for the flag.  Small town kingdoms where prosecutors and judges rule.

I head through one of the parks on my way back to where I parked the car.  I’ve always enjoyed hearing the happy voices of children playing.  Reminds me of simpler times when days stretched on forever.   When games had no rules.  We made things up as we went along.  Unbound imaginations.

Maybe that’s why I enjoying moving.  Stretching days down the length of the highways.  I guess it doesn’t matter what town I’m in.  Some things seem eternal.  Echoes of the last stop.

Maybe everywhere is home 🙂

***

 

Photo: This Victorian home was restored and converted into a Bed and Breakfast.  Another staple of small town America.

33 thoughts on “Echoes of Home”

  1. I enjoyed the read, Stearley! Seems irreverent of me to say, but, there it is; I enjoy a soulful read.
    Alcoholism is such a destroyer. My first husband of 12 years (and who died with sclerosis of the liver as a contributing factor) suffered the condition without end. Life does go on; though, it took a number of years before I could trust again; put myself ‘out there’.
    Today is a good day. With time and self examination all things return to balance. Meditation became a major part of my life, as did walking; endless walking!
    Lovely that you are able to write; I’ve always found writing to be such a great friend..

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I can relate on many levels. I think some of us are just not of this world and find it hard to find a place to call home for very long. Longing for home! Heading down trails. Hitting the road. It never satisfies for long, but it helps. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I felt like I was taking a walk with you 🙂

    I completely relate to that Highway Fever – hits me whenever I hit an open road.

    I have been in my current rental for 14 years – never planned on staying, I was the person constantly touring, working on contract, belongings in storage or moving again. Being so long in one place now has given me a very different relationship with the Spirits of Place.. although I still regularly get itchy feet.

    Ah yes… survivor of a relationship with an alcoholic here too; even sober, that person was still a destructive force and I continue to pay the price ten years after the relationship ended.

    Thanks for following my blog too! It’s very encouraging as I find my way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading and for your comments. I’d love to gather up everyone I know with itchy feet and go on a road trip caravan – it would so therapeutic 🙂 I hope you’re in a good place now, with good spirits. So sorry you had endure an alcoholic. So destructive to all around. And I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog, please keep up the sharing 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That would be an *amazing* roadtrip! Hopefully you can enjoy some of my wanderings as well.

        Thank you for your encouragement – I was a bit intimidated to start this venture and I still am very much feeling my way, so it counts for a lot! 💓

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I am enjoying your wanderings 🙂 We can wander around together in cyberspace. Don’t feel alone. I think we all feel a bit uncertain when we are baring our souls out here. But I’ve found a nice home right here in the blogging community. Very supportive and open. A welcoming place for self-expression

        Like

  4. From another, who has seldom if ever fitted in, or ever sought to, this was a beautiful read. Echoes of nostalgia, lost times, and affirmation that were not all supposed to be in one place – for long. “Life goes on. It has to.” Seldom a truer word.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I’m glad you can relate. It’s nice to know we share these feelings and perspectives. That we’re not alone in examining our lives. And I love your photography. You put a lot of emotion in your work. Conveying feeling and touching the senses – that’s true art 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. With regards to your article, thats exactly what I was thinking. We’re not all so different when we look more closely. A really poignant read! (Thank you for your own words on my work – though I do it only for enjoyment or inquisition, it is always warming to know that someone else is touched by it. I am truly grateful!) 🙏

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Very sensitively written, I enjoyed it.
    I feel the same way like you here at my current home: I had never intended to stay here for a long timer after escaping from my husband. Now it’s been exactly seven years, and in January we will move away.
    I don’t know where my home is in this world, I’ve never really had one before. I think my home is deep inside myself…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading and sharing of your self. A dear heart I know told me home is where the “heart connection” is. The place doesn’t matter. I guess we’re all looking for that true heart connection. Knowing ourselves deeply, I think, it part of finding it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for the read, Im a brand new blogger myself, was browsing different blogs to see what I might be interested in reading. My blog is kind of an “About Me” type of Blog, and I see yours might be too, so I thought I would follow you and check out some of your posts!

    Liked by 1 person

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