Monday, July 9, 2007

Home Is Where Your Mom Is

Several years ago, the girls gave me a beautiful plaque of sorts for Mother's Day. It hangs in our kitchen and it says, "home is where your mom is." For them, this will always be home. It's where they grew up and is the only house they ever knew before they left home for college and eventually jobs and marriage.

Northwest Ohio is certainly not where you'll find the most beautiful landscape in the world. It's table top flat. Much of its natural vegetation has been cleared for farming, so as you look out across the countryside, you will likely see fields of corn, wheat, oats, clover, alfalfa, or soybeans. From the air, you'd see that this area is laid out in patchwork mile squares, as a result of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. There are clusters of small woods dotted here and there and creeks and rivers running through. Mostly creeks.

There's no drama here. No mountains, no elk or bear, no majestic waterfalls. Just the slow, steady, easy life in a quiet place that most proclaim as a "good place to raise a family." It's not the Bible Belt, but still, you'll find strong Christian values played out regularly, whether it's an ice cream social at a small country church or community members joining together to help out a neighbor that needs it.

One night last week, as the sun was setting over the corn field to our west, I was struck by the fact that this place where we live has its own beauty. It happens to me every year about this time. I see the golden wheat fields blowing in the breeze against a blue, blue sky and hear the killdeer calling out and the scene is so serene, it calms me. I can smell the ripening wheat, too, and it smells good.
Life here is pretty predictable, which might be thought of as boring for some, but there's also a comfort in it. You can measure the passing of time by events like the wheat harvest, the Perseid Meteor Shower, Indian Summer, the migration of the Canada Geese and the return of the lightning bugs and cicadas. Some of these things aren't unique to here, but I think they are given more significance than just a passing observance. That's what the quiet life will do for you.

We built a fire in our firepit that night, as we do on a regular basis on summer and fall evenings, and we sat under the stars between the cucumber vines in our garden to our west and the corn field to our east. Our neighbors Tom and Helen walked over and joined us, as they many times do and as we stared into the mesmerizing flames, we talked of many things. Our children, our jobs, our dreams. We look up and we never stop being awed by the night sky with its twinkling stars and planets. This night we saw Jupiter in the southeast and Venus in the west, shining the brightest of all.

Sometimes we roast hot dogs or marshmallows on homemade skewers, and sometimes we just sit and enjoy the company of each other. The fire keeps the mosquitoes at bay, but our voices attract the attention of our cats. One by one, they creep into the circle and eavesdrop on our conversation. Jack and Max look for a friendly lap to lay in and there's always one of those available. Tom likes our cats and knows each of them by name.

After a couple of hours, someone says, "Well, this was great. I'm going to head in. See you later." We stir the dying embers to make sure they're nearly out, gather up our things and head to the house. We smell faintly of wood smoke, but we don't mind. When we wake in the morning, it will remind us of the lovely time we had the night before.

There's nothing wrong with having a desire to live in other places. To be sure, it would be awesome to look out your back door at mountains, or to not have to worry about shoveling snow before you went anywhere. But this is an okay place to be, too. Our ancestors settled here, and our families both are still here, which is probably a big reason why we're still here, too.

Because after all, home is where your mom is, and this feels like home.


Jared said...

Kylee, that was such a well written posting. It's funny too because it's about this time of the year when I miss "home" the most. The first month or so of 100+ degree temps is pretty miserable and even though cooler temps are only a 2 hour drive away, it's just hard to bring yourself to even step one foot outside in the blazing sun and zero humidity heat. Reading this posting really brings me back home, if only in my daydreams. It encompasses everything I miss about home. You're right, mountains are certainly an amazing site to see, and to be surrounded by them everyday is breathtaking. But home for me is also where my mom is.


Aiyana said...

I've tagged you to participate in a meme, Seven Random Things About Me. I hope you participate! Please check my blog for the rules.

Anonymous said...

A wonderful text and very touching!! And so true!
Greetings from Switzerland from someone who just found your interesting and wonderful blog.

Kylee Baumle said...

Jared - Having never lived 'away,' I can only imagine how you feel. But it's like they say, there's no place like home, wherever that may be.

No Rain - I've already done the Seven Random Things. Check out my post from July 6th. ;-)

Barbara - Thank you for visiting all the way from Switzerland! I have a pen friend that lives there and we have actually visited her home there. She lives in Reichenbach, in central Switzerland. Is that anywhere near you? I would love to return there someday.

greenlegs80 said...

Can Adam and I move in with you guys? You made me develop some sort of lump in my throat while reading this one. You hit every point on why I tell people that I will live here forever. When we are there at the house with you guys, it takes me back to all of the wonderful memories we share with each other. It's kind of like my 'sweet escape' from the real world. I love you guys and appreciate this post so very much. Thanks MoM!

Jenna said...

Hi Mom!! Yes I know can you believe that i'm actually on here?! HAHA... anyway, great little blog you have and this article was great. I love coming home and like Kara said it brings back all sorts of memories and makes me feel younger everytime I come home!! Just wanted you to know that you are a great writer and I love you!! :)... see you tomorrow!!

Kathryn/ said...

This is lovely, Kylee. Thanks for bringing it to our attention. I spent many years in Ohio--living with my beloved grandparents in the NE corner, and then attending and graduating from Kent State. You have a very admirable life.

Kylee Baumle said...

Kathryn ~ Thank you so much. I feel very blessed. :-) You know what I find as I travel around? Nearly everyone has some sort of connection to Ohio. It's amazing, really.

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