Home is…

Home is memories of meals, holidays, celebrations.

Home is feelings of belonging and estrangement.

Home is not always where the heart is, nor is it where one lives.

There was a brick house with faded white paint on Edgewood Terrace that used to be my home. I can’t remember the color of the window shutters now. I do remember the large oak tree that lived outside my bedroom window. That tree provided memorable leaf piles for raking and jumping in with delight.

It was a large house with space enough for everyone to spend time in separate rooms. It was not a warm house. Not because of the radiators that banged when they turned on or the single pane windows or poor insulation.

I lived in that house for six years with my family and thought of it as home for a long time.

College dorm rooms and apartments with roommates weren’t home.

Even the house I bought with my first husband didn’t feel like home. We moved from Virginia to Idaho, a huge culture shock.

Does that mean home is what’s outside, too? The neighborhood? The city? The home state?

The answer to this riddle is in the one place I truly call home. The one I had, the one I left behind.

“The Greek word for ‘return’ is nostos. Algos means ‘suffering.’ So nostalgia is the suffering caused by an unappeased yearning to return.” – Milan Kundera

Castle Cove.

I remember standing on the land, looking at the red rock formations and saying, “This is a slice of heaven.”

We hired Charlie Parker to build our “dream home.” It’s a myth. We came close to getting what we wanted once we picked out an affordable plan and scaled our purchases to fit the budget. We moved into a beautiful brand new house with brand new appliances, brand new paint, brand new fixtures. When we moved out it was listed as an older home.

Our girls grew up in a place I always dreamed of as a kid, a place with room to roam outside. I was the one who roamed the most. I walked everywhere with our dogs, up the Cove, over to Sawmill pond, hiked the Flume Trail and Pine Ridge.

I cast magical circles to the four directions in all seasons, a solitary practitioner. I paid attention to the moon and sun rising and setting, listened to coyotes, let deer eat my flowers and bird seed. Twenty acres at the end of a dead end road, an alpine desert filled with cedar, junipers and sagebrush. My home. I became indigenous to the land over time.

I bought a plot in Dry Fork Cemetery. Part of my Croning Ceremony was spent lying on the ground there, waiting for the dawn. I wish I hadn’t sold it.

We lived in Castle Cove for many years. I knew the road home – drove it in a whiteout because it was familiar, part of a routine. Like feeding llamas in the snow, shoveling a path to their shed, running the snowblower, hauling in firewood, tending the garden.

Home is more than knowing where to find the light switches in the dark.








  1. Gaelyn on November 25, 2019 at 11:26 am

    Holidays don’t evoke a sense of happy home. Yet with my gypsy lifestyle home can be anywhere I park it.

    I feel you left behind a strong sense of place. Can you do it again?
    Gaelyn recently posted..Foto Friday Fun 338–every picture tells a storyMy Profile

    • Loran Hills on November 25, 2019 at 3:40 pm

      I did leave behind a very strong sense of place. I’m working on regaining that in Wyoming but it takes time and love.

      Enjoy your gypsy holiday season!

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