My company (good friends from Louisiana) are on their way home. The house seems suddenly empty. It’s hard when good friends live a good day’s drive away. There is no impromptu, "Let’s go visit so and so…." My friends and family are scattered across the US. But that is how it has to be, since this mountain, this town, this cove at Killian Knob is where I belong. The mountains called me home.
My father was a restless man; probably still is. I’ve inherited his restless nature, which is all the more stunning to me that I am Home at last. Something here, something grabbed hold of me when I visited four years ago, something took hold of my imagination, and my secret innards. The soles of my feet feel right stepping across this ancient land. I breathe in the air and it fills my lungs full, expanding outward in satisfaction. I expel the air reluctantly. My eyes see and see and see. My ears hear and hear and hear. My mouth speaks no words, but all is understood.
My father was a restless man, and that restless nature settled in my marrow. My synapses toss and turn and flicker and shimmy. I understand him in ways I couldn’t as a child looking up up up at his handsome face. I wonder if he is Home now. I want to tell him that Home feels good. Home feels right. Home isn’t always where you were birthed screaming and red-faced (although that place is always as a birthmark upon one’s heart—my West Virginia is). Home may be where you are now, Daddy. There is that cliché: Home is where the heart is. It goes further than that. It goes deep into the marrowed bone. It is the place that is Right. It is where one steps out and breathes in the air and thinks, “I’m Home. I’m finally Home.”
My restless nature, the one I inherited from my restless father, finds its outlet, still. It finds places in stories and characters. It finds places in my pacing about the little log house—touching this, touching that. It finds places in my sleep, for my dreams are wild and uncontrollable at times. It finds a way. I do not mind it now. Now that I am Home.
My father is becoming an old man now. I am becoming a middle-aged woman. We defy it, even without trying. I study his younger photographs – the ones before me, and I wonder how he imagined his life, and if in his imaginings I was somehow there. And when I arrived, did he study my fingers and toes and think, “I had a hand in this. I am part of the reason she is here. I am a piece of this creation. I am a number in her equation.”
Home. It took many years for me to find Home. For me to relax into my skin. For me to let out a sigh and in that sigh all the old disappointments and fears left my body – the air from my sigh was no longer wanted – it was expelled – and the mountain winds carried it away. I drew in new fresh air. Home air.
Daddy, guess what? I’m Home. Long ago, when you watched me sleeping, you had no idea of who I’d be, or where I’d end up. Now you can relax, Daddy. You can breathe out a breath you’ve been holding. That little girl has grown. She’s Home now.
The scales of all the years of your life can be lifted away and reveal what is to be revealed. Blink. Open. See.
(P.S. – I think I have a title! And I have a cover! –more later)