For the last couple years I've kind of felt like I was wandering a lot. I'm not sure why I didn't feel at home anywhere. And the places that used to feel like home seemed to lose the feeling of calm, comfort and familiarity. I would go to places I used to growing up and try to force myself to feel comfortable there, but I always felt uninvited and out of place. Even in my own apartment now, there are times when I feel like it isn't mine. Sometimes I pull the key from my pocket and I wonder why someone would trust me with their housekey.
This may have stemmed from the house I lived at this summer. But I think it began two falls ago in Minneapolis. I felt more at home house sitting than I did in the house I own in Minneapolis. Things were so ugly there. I have no other way of putting it. And I guess I wasn't even conscious of it at the time. But I remember walking my dog and wondering why everything in north Minneapolis seemed like it was always in this awkward stage of coming out of death, like spring. Spring is good because it means things are going to be warm, fresh and new, but it's neither a graceful transition, nor is it pretty. There were moments when I felt like my eyes were craving something beautiful.
The closest I came to feeling at home was on my drive home from work. There is a section on 694 that is straight and uneventful. Traffic is usually pretty heavy and noisy since I go home around four or five. But just before the freeway splits and I drive into Minneapolis, there is a moment where everything becomes silent. Even my music takes on a new sound. I don't hear the cars around me. I don't even hear my own car. To me this is what home sounds like. Everything is quiet. I don't hear or see the ugly parts of my life.
Last night, as I drove home from my parents', I found home in a shockingly glorious moment. To get to my parents', there is about a ten minute drive along a large lake. On one side, large old homes sit damp and wilted in the spring with the frozen lake on the other side. Yesterday was no different since it was gray and on the verge of raining all day. It's ugly and brown and depressing. But then I saw something I hadn't seen in years: two swans floating along the shoreline of the water. I remember seeing them once in a while on my way into school when I lived at home. And suddenly, I realized how quiet it was with no wind or cars around me. All I saw was the lake almost melted, the calm mirror look of the water and those swans that seemed to just glide on top of it. It was so delicate and beautiful surrounded by the ugliness of dead leaves, frozen lake and gray clouds. The white of their feathers almost hurt my eyes, it was so bright in contrast. It was as though I hadn't seen color so vibrant in years. Then I remembered what home felt like.