No sooner had we arrived to Idaho for our last stay on our journey, we received an alarming text from our tenant: a water pipe had sprung a leak inside our house, leaving behind a wet mess.
This is not how we envisioned settling back home. On the plus side, we were now only a six hour drive away and could attend to the problem ourselves. Better here and now than from Bali. We left the kids with grandma in Idaho and drove home to Seattle.
Home. What a strange concept.
In his novel by the same name, Thomas Wolfe famously reminds us, “you can’t go home again.” Either a place changes, we do, or both (always both). There are few things like coming home to remind us of the full measure and inescapable law of impermanence.
“You can’t go back home to your family, back home to your childhood … back home to a young man’s dreams of glory and of fame … back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time – back home to the escapes of Time and Memory.”
— Thomas Wolfe
Home is a mirror unto ourselves. When we stay in one place, we evolve with it in imperceptible and subtle increments. But when we step away from it for a while, the velocity of how much a place has changed — or how much we have changed — comes into sharp relief. As soon as I walked into my house, I could feel how much changed I am in relation to it.
But there was no time for that. Not now, anyway. We focused our task on dealing with the water damage — ripping out the drywall, mitigating mold, patching the leak, and salvaging some water-logged paintings as best we could. We didn’t do much else in Seattle, and were back on the road to Idaho in under three days.
On the long drive back, I was reminded of a different definition of home: one where home is where the heart is. We hadn’t seen our kids in three days, which is longer than we’d been away from them at any other time this year, and already we were missing them. In coming back to Idaho with Janet and to our kids, I felt like I was very much coming home again.
And that’s not the only time. Last week in New York, we saw old friends and loves, each time with a similar feeling of coming home. And upon arriving to Idaho, to be reunited with Grandma, in addition to our friend Colleen and her children who greeted us with such warm hospitality in Italy many months ago when we embarked on this journey. Seeing each and every one of them has felt like coming home again.
Our worldschooling journey ends in a week. We’ll be back in Seattle for the foreseeable future, but the world has become my home, as have the people that I carry in my heart even when we’re apart.
Below: Water damage at our home in Seattle
Below: Home in Idaho