Saturday, November 29, 2003

Home again.

We are back from San Diego County, where we had a wonderful time with my sister and her husband- good food (she is a great cook and hostess) and good conversation in a relaxed atmosphere. I thoroughly enjoyed the visit, but it is also nice to be back home.

Their home is on one peak of a set of hills forming a circle around a tiny valley in a larger zone of rolling hills. The geology of the area about ten miles away, looks like uplifted and eroded bedrock, very likely from ancient fault activity. This set of hills has a house on approximately each peak, and is filled with fruit tree groves. The whole area has the feel of being out in the country without being too far from civilization. When arriving, we saw a baby coyote out in the daytime as we traveled down the road that leads to their drive. There was no mother coyote in sight and though it moved up the hillside into the edge of the tree line, it didn't seem frightened, only curious, which was odd. But it served to reinforce effect of being out in the country.

We grew up in the country on a lake surrounded by forests, farmland and rolling hills, some of the largest in Indiana and some of it formed by similar ancient geologic activity. I have always felt most at home in Southern California in these same kinds of foothills and rolling hills. I suspect my sister has the same feelings and need to be located slightly outside and off the beaten path. I accomplished this to some degree, by moving to a town like area with a National Forest and mountain range behind me, rimmed by foothills and smaller ranges on the other sides that separate us from the larger bustle of Los Angeles valleys. I am too far away for coyote to venture into yards, but a 10 minute walk puts me in bobcat and coyote territory. Several minutes more and I am in mountain lion and bear territory.

Lately I have often thought about the fact that my sister is the only person in the world with a long shared history and background. We are at once very different but also similar. My uncle has known me longer, but not as well. My father (we share unbreakable emotional and legal bonds, but not genetics) has really only been around about a year longer than her and probably knows me from a different sense. I have been around all of her life, and have watched most of her changes, but she is short 5 years of being around all of mine. It is an odd feeling as time continues onward, to think in these terms. Perhaps others do it sooner, but for me this is a new concept of measurement and I am pretty sure that it is an age related frame of reference.

I wish we lived a little closer, as I would like to simply pop in my car and see her whenever I felt like it- not for us to reminisce about growing up, but to keep current, to weather the changes of age together. Unfortunately it has to be a planned event, not a spontaneous one. Maybe that will change at some point in the future.

I completely enjoyed seeing her, I always do, but it is also good to be home.

Home is where my pillows are exactly the ones that can be scrunched to fit my neck and shoulders the way I like them. Home is where I know what is in the refrigerator and the pantry cabinet for that late night snack, and where the utensils are located for fixing it. Home is where my old, frightened, grey cat comes out of hiding because we are back and he can relax and eat now and then snuggle up against me. He looked at me reproachfully earlier as he smelled the 5 dogs and 3 cats from my sister's on my clothes, but still snuggled up because that is our routine and that is where comfort is found. Home is where I can put on clothes that don't match but are comfortable and two pairs of sox instead of shoes when it is cold. Home is where chaos and disorder reign, and the nagging sense of things that need to be done is often a part of my mental state. But surrounded by my things, even in the state they are in, home is also where I can truly relax and feel completely comfortable. That feeling has probably increased as an age related thing too.

Going away for an overnight visit with my sister is wonderful. Coming home after is perhaps even better.

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