A few days ago I was sitting in an Indiana airport, enroute to Tucson, on my way home from my 40th high school reunion. Hmm, on my way home. Funny, but when I departed a week prior, I told friends, “I’m going back home for my high school reunion.” Hmm, again. “Home” both ways. Where exactly is home? Some say home is where the heart is. Can it be in more than one place?
I only lived in Washington, Indiana, a town of 12,000, and went to high school there for three years, just a fraction of the school time of the majority of my classmates, who I discovered this past weekend had known each other since grade school. Yet, I feel as close to the friends I made in high school as if I’d known them much longer. Up until now only accessible by two-lane highways, Washington will potentially become a bigger dot on the map as Interstate 69 is being constructed just along the outskirts of town, bringing out-of-town travelers and new businesses to serve those travelers. The times they may be a-changing.
The geography is different, too, and I think I appreciate it more each time I return. Coming from Tucson, Arizona in the Desert Southwest, it’s refreshing to see Indiana’s grass and acres of farmland and wide open spaces, not to mention the slower pace of small-town living. Just a 10-minute drive outside the city limits and you feel like you’re in a different world. So peaceful (and nothing beats sitting out in the back yard on a summer night, watching the lightning bugs flit about).
Washington, Indiana also feels like home since several generations of my family are from there (in fact, I graduated from the same high school as my parents), and I still have aunts and cousins that live there. My sister and her husband have lived in the same house for over 25 years and have successfully raised two phenomenal kids in Washington. Since our parents are no longer living, my sister’s house feels like home, that familiar place I know I can always return to.
Yet, while sitting at the airport, I found myself looking forward to returning to my home back in Arizona. I’ve never lived in a house as long as I’ve lived here, so in my mind that’s something akin to putting down roots. Big sky and magical sunsets. And even though, after the events of the last six months, there are less warm bodies in my house than there used to be, I still feel like my home is filled with wonderful memories of fun times, holidays with nieces and nephews, good friends, and loving dogs. I think I can live with those memories. Plus, I am blessed with the greatest neighbors and the bestest friends. Love abounds.
Yes, this feels like home, but I think I’ll continue to claim both Indiana and Arizona. Home is where the heart is, and after this trip, I think I discovered my heart is in both places.