While sitting on my friend’s front porch sipping a Tito’s and soda last night Simon and Garfunkel’s “Homeward Bound” came on the radio. Outside on the lush green grass kids were playing tag. Beyond them the sun was dipping lower in the sky coloring the lake across the street with pinks and purples. The fire pit crackled, just begging for s’mores. And the air was thick with Boston accents and laughter. I looked at my blue-haired teen ager laughing and shooting baskets with his bathing suit-bedecked friends and searched around the lawn to find my little wee Goldie rocking back and forth in a hammock under the supervision of a gaggle of very sweet teenage girls.
“I wish I was homeward bound.” Simon plucked those guitar strings and pulled me back onto the porch. The drum beat kicked on, the lyrics floated by and I closed my eyes and inhaled that Cape Cod air as deep as my ribs would allow. I paused there a second, at the edge of my breath, holding it all in and then slowly letting it all out. All the while thinking - wow, ain’t I lucky? There was chattering around me on the porch and it definitely wasn’t quite the right moment to sit and swallow the moment in silence so I went with Simon and pulled myself back into the room, back into conversation telling myself I’d come back to this moment later. I was mostly successful save for the few moments the words, “Homeward bound,” bustled in. “I wish I was, homeward bound…”
Home. Now that right there… that’s the thing. Isn’t it? Hmm. So what is home? Where is home? What does it even mean? And how am I finding it possible to find peace in not one but two homes!
The truth is I dream all year of the beauty, of the wondrous magnificence of this simple New England island. This is our sixth summer coming to my parents’ home on Cape Cod. Prior to that my summers were spent at the childhood home I grew up in north of Boston with little visits to the Cape here and there. But my parents’ last house - well, I became who I was in that house! I hit all my milestones in that house. It was all I could imagine when I thought of home and I think that made me feel very safe. I couldn’t imagine my parents not being in that house. I moved around so much as a young adult I think I felt like there was nothing binding me anywhere. But things change. I’m older now. I’ve lived in the same house in Los Angeles now for fourteen years. I’m raising children in that house. It is our home. But… truly, just one of them. As I continue to grow myself I understand more and more what that four-letter word really means. The physical space these wooden structures occupy are but just a small piece. Seeing, hugging, laughing with my East coast family and summer friends and marveling at the passage of another winter in the inches my children’s friends have sprouted fills me with a warm, comforting connectedness. Isn’t that home? And being here and missing my friends in Los Angeles and being grateful for the life we have carved out for ourselves out there feels like missing a little bit of home, too. I’m both torn in two and filled up beyond words or imagination could muster. And for that I’m lucky and grateful. I’m always a little bit outside the norm. A square peg in a round slot. I will always be a Bostonian in LA or a Californian on Cape Cod. And for that I’m only too grateful. It keeps me present. It keeps me mindful and in the moment.
So as I sit and think about what it means to be homeward boundI know Simon and Garfunkel were singing about something else entirely. Their words were filled with such sweet longing to be home because they were some place that paled in comparison. They missed home, their love, so badly. I’m astounded that I get to feel the comfort and friendship and belonging of home in two places. Oh and for that I'm just so grateful.