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A long time ago a friend once said to me that 'wherever you go, there you are'. I only partially understood that at the time but it always stayed with me and has kept me asking two questions of myself. Where am I? Who am I when I'm here?
I just spent the last 6 weeks in the small town I grew up in. This year it took me longer to settle in, mostly because the place had already taken on a life of its own before I got there ~ my sister and her family were halfway through their month long vacation and my brother had parked his fifth-wheel there for July. Add to this, husband and I bought the little house next door and we (ok, him more than we) worked for weeks to do/coordinate painting, flooring, repairs and some landscaping.
As a rule, when I go home, I go home alone. And I really like it that way! So it threw me a bit to find myself in the middle of so much activity with no place to chisel out the solitude I expect to have while I'm there. Eventually everyone went home, the house projects ended and perhaps not so surprisingly, I really missed them all when the house finally quieted.
Home for me is a place rich in layers. Not just in that it is where I grew up but more in who I find myself to be as I grow older. One evening last week as I was going for a walk, I decided on a detour through the graveyard. My great-uncle Sterling had been buried there just the day before at a grand old age of 94. He was my grandmother's brother from a family of 15 children. I attended the funeral and even though perhaps one shouldn't feel gratified at such an occasion, that is exactly how it was for me. A sense of enduring history and belonging to people whose DNA I have the markers of and carry around with me as I move in the world. I couldn't help but think of those who don't know who they are, don't know where they come from. Here, all around me, both the living and the dead were practically shouting in my head that this is my tribe, this is where I came from, this is an anchor when the world seems to set me adrift. And I do love to be set adrift. On this night, I enjoyed the long shadows and the setting sun as it lit names, dates and inscriptions. I stopped and talked with Art and Nanny and of course Rolls and Yvonne for a while. They were all giants in my life and remains so. I've learned that people don't have to be with you for you to feel them, to garner their courage and to make them proud.
Also when I'm home there is all of my own personal history. The child that doesn't want to take her feet out of the river, the girl that still wants the boy, the adult I never though I would become but grateful that I did. I always come face to face with who I was, who I am and the door of continual opening that can at times be hinged too tight. Foundational roots that grow through the shale at the river's edge. Just like the trees overtaking the riverbank, I see myself in all this beauty, some parts are evergreen while others change their colour, shrivel before falling to the ground and lose their leaves for a season. In yoga trees are a great metaphor for our yin and yang, the dichotomy of our inherent male and female energies. Shiva, our male aspect allows us to reach for the sky, growing out and upward while Suka, our female selves bring us back to the earth, growing us deeper and richer in experience. We need both to expand the walls of our desires.
I'm satisfied that I let go of a few things this summer, even though when the time came I still wasn't ready to leave. Someday I will be free of all that does not serve me. Then again, maybe I won't! Just as I feel myself gaining on the list, new challenges come into the rear-view mirror. Regardless, I once again shed my skin and will be content with that for now, knowing that wherever I go, I'm grateful for this journey and don't mind being just who I am.