Monday, August 08, 2005

A Sort Of Homecoming 

The car's still packed from today's wild ride off-Cape via a quick and fruitless househunt in Wilbraham and Belchertown. The dial-up is slow enough to keep any near-term netfodder to a minimum. Life remains a George Carlin routine.

Yet after infinite days of dissipation, how easily we fall into the evening routine: finding our mail, offering each other drinks at the dinner table, resuming the clean routine of bedtime for the one-by-one children. It's not home, of course. But it has been, over time. And it's been there forever, steady and ever-more welcoming since the day I brought my wife home to her parents, a pair of drop-outs dropping the bomb in this still-unfinished living room.

And how comfortably our stuff condenses: two cars between us for the first time in a month; our very own pillows in beds already half-sunken to our shapes. More importantly, both cat and dog rejoin us in these beds -- even now our family slumbers, complete again in ways the truly nomadic existence hardly sustains.

This will forever be the summer we drifted, a family of gypsies living everywhere and nowhere. But moving from the tourist trap mentality of summertown beachfronts to the in-laws ever-open arms, and the space they have given us as our own in the once-taboo living quarters, feels like a step towards something familiar, even cozy. When we look back at the whirlwind – a summer of uncenteredness I hope against hope will remain noteworthy for its historical singularity – we will surely think of this place as its heart.

Perhaps the turning point has passed, the yo-yo fulfilled its apex. Perhaps, with work three weeks away and an average of eight weeks from discovery to houseclose, this is but the eye of the storm. Regardless: in the midst of the whirlwind, it's nice to have a place that can be almost-home.

Nice, too, to finally catch up on the snailmail. If you'll excuse me, I have to pick my side dishes for the new faculty orientation luncheon.

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Welcome "home." Have a nice three weeks before you start the new job.
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