My Daughter's Sense of Place
Our oldest daughter is an accomplished, strong young woman; a wife and mother of four beautiful girls. She holds a bachelor's degree (with honors) in history and is a Virginia state certified teacher; though she's chosen to homeschool all her children from the beginning. I could go on. She recently wrote this which brought great joy and satisfaction to my spirit and soul: Home . . . What is home? I heard someone say recently that "home is where you lay down your head." I thought about that statement, and I disagree. I have laid my weary head down in many places that were decidedly not MY home. Home is more, much more. This week, I have been blessed to entertain several occasions that draw me back to my roots, that beckon me to slow down, to linger, to define home. I love Virginia. This commonwealth resplendently complete with mountains, rivers, valleys, beaches, historical venues, etc. has been my home for the entirety of my existence. Yes, my home, not just where I lay down my head. I am increasingly more aware of how much of me is wrapped up in this place, specifically the Shenandoah Valley - "God's country" as someone not local to our homeland recently called these hills. This place is my home, as it is the home of my parents, and before them their parents, and so on. Summertime in the valley is magnificent. I love sitting on my front porch with a glass of ice tea in my hand watching my little girl flutter barefoot through the green grasses on the hunt for fireflies. I love the melody of the grasshoppers and crickets, the chirping of the tree frogs (peepers, as my daughters call them), and the cicada's sweet summer serenade. I love holding hands with my love and listening to our community band playing mostly on tempo in a grand ole' bandstand that dates all the way back to the late 1800's. Driving through the towering mountains that stand resolute, unmovable, fixed; one can't help but be captivated by the beauty that awaits. The fluffy, wispy, foggy clouds that settle in contrast to the deep hues of the blue mountains tug at my soul. The lush green vines that wind and weave themselves around the old places, reaching across roads, blanketing these old hills in a glorious green canopy call to me. This place is in my very being. One of my earliest memories is of a visit to my great grandmother's house, nestled in these same mountains, watching her churn butter on her front porch. I remember how when she unwound the bun that her hair was secured in, it drug the ground. I remain fascinated and in awe of the grit and determination of my people. I appreciate their hard work and willingness to make these mountains their home. As I listen to the waning sounds of summer, ever aware that yet one more season of respite has passed, I am grateful that my roots are here, and that they go deep. I will treasure every sunrise, every twinkling starlit evening, every song sung by the insects and the birds, every glow of the firefly, every minute spent swinging on the porch soaking it all in - every single moment. Home is not where you lay down your head, but rather where you lay down your heart. This place is my home. Grace and peace.