I have been driving away from home for a long time. 6 years. It started the fall of my freshman year of college and continued through last spring.
I hated it. I hated driving the turns and curves knowing I was driving away from the land that made me. So, over the 6 years I built up a pretty thick wall. I taught myself how to not think, how to hold my breath in those moments of leaving. Eventually this spilled over into the driving-towards-home. I didn't let it sink in because if I did the driving-away would cut that much more.
So I stopped breathing and kept driving.
Last weekend I made a quick and last-minute trip to visit a friend up north. She was stressed, I was stressed; grades were due for her, grades were due for me; and we both thought what the heck! Better to be stressed and grading in the company of a good friend than alone! So I threw a few things in a bag, filled my car with gas, and headed down the road.
This road was the road that led me to college for four years. A road that had mixed and blurred the lines of happiness and sadness.
But as I drove I looked at the land. Bright, golden yellow wild flowers sprinkled the ditches like a tube of spilled glitter. The trees , holding onto the last summer green of their branches, painted shadows on the pavement before me like a carpet. Cows munched grass in the pastures, not caring that I drove so close to their fence rows. A gust of wind swept through the hills and the cattails, standing like soldiers, bent in its power.
And I breathed it all in. Through my mouth. Through my nostrils. Through my heart.
I breathed it all in because as I felt the beauty of the land curving and dipping beneath me I knew I would be returning. The past tense WAS and the present tense IS blurred together. This was my home. This is my home.
I will continue breathing in the land that made me and let it become the land that is making me still.