I moved from the beautiful Pacific Northwest at the tender age of 19. I vividly remember the time I went home a few years later,when our kids were really little. I scoured the scenery for the familiar. For the sense of home. Maybe it was because life was so busy, so forward-moving at a breathless pace, or maybe because my actual home town was changing really fast. At any rate, I didn't find it. I said to myself at the time, well we can never go home again.
Last week, several decades later. we went to Oregon with good friends to enjoy the wine country of the Willamette Valley. But first we drove across the coastal range to the incredibly beautiful Oregon coast. On that drive, just outside the window were these trees and plants that were so familiar, I honestly saw them as if I was 19 years old and riding in the car with my parents. That time of life came rushing back. The way I felt, my life stretched out before me. It almost made me cry.
Maybe because it wasn't my specific home town, and I didn't need the buildings and roads to be the same as they were. I only needed those trees. That air. Those blackberry bushes along side the road. But it was a gift of the rarest kind. A bone deep memory of a wonderful childhood. A bone deep memory of a loving family who cherished the beauty of their homeland. It's a new memory I'll file away, to take out again someday and spend some good time being grateful.