"Home is the nicest word there is."
Laura Ingalls Wilder
It is the first day of spring, which means that Houston has already trampled on the concept of spring and marched directly into midsummer. It is days like these that I especially miss so many things about dear old Maryland…
So much green everywhere. The greenness of my front yard, sloping downward to meet the sweeping greenery of our gigantic weeping willow. Driving along winding highways framed by carpets of green. Green reaching upwards and outwards, as far as the eye can see.
Better than Starbucks. Mild, creamy and faintly sweet. Our long, long talks in the early morning hours before anyone else is awake.
Airy, spacious, spring-green walls. Coffee pot and tea kettle. My favorite staples always in the pantry: peanut butter, crackers and dried fruit. Countless parties, people everywhere, late into the humid summer nights.
Flowering trees lining both sides of a broad, sleepy street. My neighbor’s award-winning landscaping, a breathtaking array of color as soon as the last frost dies away. Spreading lawns and winding driveways that give off an aura of countryside.
Explosions of purple bloom that overwhelm our back porch, attracting butterflies, bumblebees and hummingbirds.
Where it isn’t too hot to lay in the sun and tan away those lazy spring afternoons.
Always a brother or sister nearby to go on spontaneous dates to Starbucks, play lively games of Nertz or Settlers of Catan, cook up delectable concoctions, play catch in the front yard or ride our bikes to 7-Eleven.
Getting drunk on the scent of spring, so sweet and rich it brings tears to your eyes.
Nests of blue, speckled eggs. The tiniest bunnies amid stalks of warm grass. Birds. Singing. Everywhere.
Beautiful songs reminiscent of heaven in the joy, the never wanting to stop. Preaching so powerful it catches your breath. Resounding “amens!” Freedom. Power. God in our midst.
Dearest, lifelong besties. The friends you can catch up with and months feel like yesterday. Memories and hugs and so much laughter.
::old stomping grounds::
Parks and highways and stores you grew up in. Everything changes, and yet it is the same. The feeling that you could go blind and be completely at home, for always.
Playing with dad, the brother, the boyfriend-now-husband. Sweating and swinging next to the playgrounds you once toddled in. Places where everything takes you back.
Freshly combed dirt and snow-white lines. The satisfying smack of ball into glove. Whistles and cheers, knee pads and catcher's mask. Spring afternoons hitting, running, drilling. The thrill of gameday victories. Medals.
The recreation of choice at every gathering. Hours in the park with the same group of friends; nets dragged out at birthday parties and family reunions alike. Spike. Set. Dive. The perfect game, the perfect weather.
The smell of fresh herbs drying. Pumping away on a prehistoric player piano. Grabbing a cold Yoohoo from a first-generation refrigerator. Knitting. Sewing the Civil War costume that won first prize in high school. Baking breads and desserts of all kinds. Feasting on hot beef sandwiches and jumbo shrimp. Exploring the attic and the hayloft. Riding horses, gathering eggs, feeding sheep. Both Grandma’s houses are what storybooks are made of.
With every fiber of my being, I miss Maryland. I crave the beauty, the aliveness everywhere. I long to be home as much as possible. And yet, I bloom where I am planted. I am multi-faceted and educated in a way that only comes from being transplanted into an entirely new culture. God knows what He is doing. And with every visit, home becomes even more the dearest place on earth to me.