May 2, 2021

Come in From the Cold: A Poetic Meditation on the Meaning of Home.

As I prepared to self-quarantine last winter, I wondered how many people really enjoy being home?

What is the meaning of home for each of us? Is it easier to be home as we age? By the time I turned 30, I had already moved 36 times in my life. I remember never really feeling at ease or content when I was at home; there were so many things demanding my attention. I have lived in a rural climate now for 14 years, and I find that my sense of place and the meaning of home have changed dramatically since I lived in the urban world.

My writing desk overlooks both marsh and lake. I face a large window that beckons I not only write, but rest in this environment. I stare at our bird feeders and the weather for long periods of time. I learn subtleties, patterns of nature, and the seasons. I find this calming—and who would not want to feel calmer during these times of upheaval?

As Joni Mitchell once said, “all we ever wanted, was to come in from the cold.”


I could not recognize you earlier

yet you stood by as sentry,

waiting to be noticed.

I ran past you in a blur

thinking you were there, or there.

Like a crow, diving toward all things shiny,

shallow and meaningless.

Now stationary and still

I stare for long periods of time

watching leaves falling

within hidden patterns.

My roots slowly pushing through clay soil

discovering new depths,

previously unknown

in the shadow and light.

All feelings welcome

neither good nor bad, right, or wrong,

simply wanting to be held closely

within me

and recognized as home.

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