At least once a month, I tell my husband that we should move to Alaska. He always raises an eyebrow at me and shakes his head in disbelief, and then I laugh it off and we move on with our day. While my words are, for the most part, in jest, a spirit of truth rings through them. I have always been filled with wanderlust. I’m jealous of those people I read about who can close up shop, put their lives on hold, and spend a summer beneath the Yosemite sky in an old Airstream camper, or pack up and spend a year writing a novel in an old house on the edge of a cliff in Ireland.
That need to experience other places and ways of life is a lot of why I’m a writer. If I can’t physically sit on my back porch and watch a moose eat from a berry bush at the edge of my yard, at least I can write it into a story. Because I wasn’t able to experience the bombing of Pearl Harbor or the struggle to make a birthday cake when no sugar was available due to rationing, I can make it happen first in my mind and then on the page.
The problem is that no words in any book that I’ve ever read have given me that sense of feeling and awe that coursed through me the first time I stood on the banks of Elliott Bay, or watched the smoke that gave the Smoky Mountains their name slowly, lazily rise heavenward. I don’t truly believe any description in the world can describe the smell of the air, the sound of the seagulls, the slap of gentle waves, and then marry it all together in a way that takes your breath away. No, some things in life aren’t meant to be read – they have to be experienced. (Don’t think that I’m not absolutely heartsick that I can never, no matter how hard I try, experience the 1940s.) And that need to experience is why I’m never, ever fully content. The old saying “bloom where you’re planted” is as foreign a concept to me as any. I don’t see myself as a bloomer. I’m more of a dandelion seed – floating through the air, landing for a while, and then taking off again when the wind picks up. I eventually settle somewhere and put out some roots, but they’re shallow. They’re easily pulled from the soil and hearty enough to be put into new earth and thrive there. For a while, anyway.
Now, I do believe that my “home” is out there. I don’t think I’ll feel like wandering and searching forever. But from both a physical and spiritual perspective, I’m still seeking that place that makes my soul relax and heave out a big sigh. Just as I feel ridiculous for having moved from this church to that church and back again, I realize that I do this because I’m still seeking. Truth. Acceptance. Happiness. Community. A sense of purpose. Just as with my physical home, I believe my spiritual home is out there, too, waiting for me to walk through the doors and feel that snap of recognition from the depths of my soul.
As the days of 2013 wane and we head toward a new year, I realize that I’m standing on the edge of a new discovery. 2014 is, for me, going to be a year of change. I feel it. In fact, I’m instrumental in driving us toward that discovery. While I’ve had discussions about moving to Seattle or transferring to a new facility that the company may open up, nothing is finalized or concrete. All I know is that I’m supposed to go West. How far west, I don’t know yet. I just hope that, wherever I’m lead, I can finally send down some deep roots and then sit back and smile because I will, once and for all, be home.