I have given a lot of thought to this topic over the years. A friend recently blogged about Going Home Again and it set my mind to wandering. Wandering along pathways that quite honestly have no destinations.
So where is home? Is it western Pennsylvania where I was born and spent the first 24 years of my life? The place where all of my blood relatives (my own children excepted) reside? The place that has changed so little in the 33 odd years since I left that I can still easily find my way around town?
I know it's not western New York. While I loved our brief stay there the roots were shallow. Not enough time to get a firm grasp in the rich farmland surrounding Dansville.
But is it Alabama? I moved there feeling like a fish out of water and left fifteen years later a better person for having spent time south of the Mason Dixon Line. My children, although not born in Huntsville, spent their childhoods playing in the red clay that abounds in north Alabama. Clay so thick and determined that it grabs on to tiny roots and pulls them deeper with each passing day; clinging tightly when the tree is eventually uprooted. I wonder, when my boys think of home is it thoughts of Alabama that fill their heads? I must make a note to ask.
Or is home south Florida? After all I believe I have lived here longer than any other place except for Pennsylvania. Does duration of time make a place home? I'm afraid my Florida roots are not unlike the roots of the palm, thin and shallow, easily uprooted and transplanted. Perhaps it is because there is no family here. And yet when I'm away I miss it. At those times when I think of home, my thoughts automatically drift to Marco Island, to swaying palms and white sandy beaches.
So where is home? I'm not certain that I will ever be able to answer that question. When you live the life of a nomad you leave little pieces of yourself at every stop along way. But you also take with you the best of those places, memories of family and friends. Memories that can be served up at a moments notice. Memories that warm the heart on a cold winter day or even on an overcast morning just days away from my favorite holiday. You know, the one that usually takes me home.