Our last few musings have indeed echoed with the theme of home. Where do we truly want to be? Where do we choose to finally hang our hat and yes, store those treasures and memories we’ve collected along the way?
The past two weeks since writing ’round and round’ in the conversation we’ve had, I’ve had little time to ponder it further. More aptly, it hasn’t niggled or pestered, not even crept into the conversation. I’ve been flat-out busy and have felt… just kind of normal, contented, even joyous. It started with babysitting a friend’s garden…
Asked to tend her vegetable patch for a month, it was bursting with zucchini, broccoli, chard, carrots, tomatoes and herbs. Sydnee’s garden is perched atop a hill with a view to the town and the ski mountain. The clouds roll over the vista like a Renoir and each time I visited, it seemed like a striking new canvas had been unfurled.
I confess that in all these years, we’ve never had a vegetable garden, blooms of every kind certainly. But, oh, how good it felt to dig up those carrots and give them a gentle clobber, freeing them of soil and filling the air with earthy aroma. How blissful it was gently twisting free a zucchini and marvelling at the greens of polished chard. It was a gift throwing on the wellies and communing with nature in this entirely different setting for me. All simply brilliant, even tending alongside Matt a few times, then delivering the gift of fresh veggies to the local food bank.
Sydnee is a new friend who joined my The Joy of Writing Workshop in late March; one of those instant connections and we quickly realised we share the love of travel. This past, last Saturday, I again gave my workshop and have been incredibly buoyed by the response, the wealth of talent and yet more friendships. You well know this feeling Jo, in fact it is how we met way back in Tuscany! But for me now, with more than thirty people having joined my workshops in Kimberley thus far, it has added a rich, deeper layer to my sense of belonging and community.
It continued this weekend at the local Octoberfest when I ran into Myrt. Also a workshop attendee, Myrt’s writing revealed she had lived in Qatar (as we had) and as her travel tales enthralled us, I knew she was also a kindred spirt.
As we chatted at the festival, it was like a warm hug from around the world. Within five minutes we had spoken about our favourite store in India, visiting our kids in Europe and comparing which compounds we had lived in while in Doha. Yet Myrt was adamant, “It’s so good to be here, this is an amazing place to finally call home.”
So, maybe it is the simple things. Like seeing both old and new friends at a local event, the serenity of tending a garden, gliding through autumnal hues in our kayak. And the not-so-simple like being welcomed by long-standing writers and helping influence new ones. It’s even the realisation that on a whim, I can reminisce about those other places a little more often. Perhaps it’s finally all adding up, to being home.
Yet it’s never that easy, this afternoon Bruce and I trekked up a mountain. As we were taking in the stunning view, my phone buzzed. It was Trixie sending a message from Lisbon where she’s visiting with her mother.
‘This is a great place for a girls trip she wrote.
‘Wish I was there, but I’m up a mountain!’ I lamented, images of lovely Lisbon instantly dancing in my mind.
‘I’ll trade you, I’d rather be there.’
‘Deal, I want to be there!’ I wrote back.
Jo, I’m now convinced that it will always be this way. We know too much of the world to be confined to one place, we’ll often desire to be in more than one place at one time. But hey, we can still come and go, and at some point we have to be content to tend that garden, to laugh with that friend, to be thankful to have somewhere to call home.
In a few weeks time I’ll be writing from Nova Scotia. I’m off on my own girls trip with my mom, then onwards to a writer’s retreat… more stunning vistas to come, a part of Canada I’ve not yet seen!
I hope the week ahead finds you, too, infused with contentment…