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Coming Home

As a kid, I walked to and from school every day. Not the proverbial, five miles up hill in the snow barefoot trope that parents like to roll out when their kid complains of walking to school. No, my walk was a blissful paradise of pedestrian delight. In fact, the one day that it did snow, made the walk even better. Along the miles and years an unacknowledged companion was wrapping its arms around me. The sun.

Wandering along the sidewalk my soul would melt and be free. Whether walking alone or with my brother or friends, the traverse back and forth began to etch itself into my soul. My heart took silent photographs of trees and shrubs. Carefully noting the changing seasons. As holidays arrived, I would marvel at the decorations around homes and yards. I could taste life with every inhale as I stepped.

In my mid-twenties, it was time to move. Though life hadn't been flawless. It had been wonderful. So many dreams fulfilled. While so many still existed to be carried out. Moving was a grievance on my heart. I had to let go of one life, to pursue another. One day, as I cried on the phone to a friend, I said, "I can tell the time by the sun. I'll never be able to do that again." Over all those cement miles, the sun had shaped me the most. It enhanced every moment. Even when it was hidden by rain clouds and deep fog. It was my ever-present companion.

Thirty years have passed since that required but painful move. Not surprisingly, it would be the sun that held me through the transition. On the drive to our new home, my husband stopped to watch a college football game. I remained at a nearby park with our nearly one year old daughter. She was just beginning to stand on her own. The warm sun, washed over us as she navigated herself along a rock wall by a duck pond. I thanked the sun for being with us, as I needed hope to move forward.

As we settled in the Northwest, I found myself drawn to the sun even more. The statement that it rains 10 months a year is not an exaggeration. Those 10 months though are what provide substantial beauty to the region. However, this California girl craved her solar companion. Sunrises and sunsets became the talisman of joy for me. If I could sneak a peek or soak in it, my soul battery was restored.

Last week my husband and I drove to California from Washington and then back again. On the ride back home, we wound along the pass heading into sinking sun of my childhood. The trees, shadows, and sky all reflected the sun I had come to know as a kid walking home from school. I checked the clock on the car dashboard, 3:05 pm. The exact time Sutter Elementary School let out. Without a blink I was back home, walking those streets, along Pomeroy to Pruneridge. Eventually landing on Clinton Avenue. Every beautiful essence of those walks exploding in my soul.

It had been years since we made this road trip. Most of the time we fly. Ironically it was a mere week off from our initial trip 31 years earlier. With each mile melting behind us, the autumn sun, reminded me that I will always be home. My childhood home of California set the stage. My adult home of Washington added new chapters. Now I know that whatever lies ahead I will always be home where the ever present sun is.

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