My Home IS on the Range

That’s a loaded word, “home.” You can’t go there, according to Thomas Wolfe, but you could look in its general direction, angelically.

One night in an Irish bar in San Diego, where I had been taken by my date, an Irishman who’d been my student, I was introduced to a man who, after looking at me quizzically through blearily drunken tired eyes and hearing my name said, “Och, and when were ye last home?”

“He means Ireland,” said my date. I nodded, didn’t know what to say. “Home” as Ireland? Never been there.

So what is this “home” of which you speak?

When I was a kid, home was always Montana, wherever we lived. “We’re going home for Christmas,” my mom would say, and I’d wonder where in hell we were when my mom said, “Come right home after school.” Parental language is designed to keep kids off balance. In a part of my mind, Montana is still “home” but I will probably never return. The people who made it home are all dead.

In 2014 my friend Lois picked me up at the airport in Denver. I was going to look at a house in Monte Vista — a town I’d never seen. To get there, we drove over Poncha Pass and dropped down into the San Luis Valley. I knew immediately that I was home. The light was right. The mountains were right. The emptiness was perfect. I found a house that fit me perfectly. For the first couple of years, I frequently wondered if I had died and gone to Heaven.

But I got to Heaven without dying, and I was finally home.

My dad’s favorite singing cowboy brings it all…home.

24 thoughts on “My Home IS on the Range

  1. There is a right place for all of us, but it is the lucky ones that find it. You found yours in Monte Vista and I found mine in Feldbrunnen, although we both made many right and left turns until we got there.

  2. Home — the last one — is here, but I was also at home in New York, Long Island, Jerusalem, and Boston. I think home is where your pets and books live. And there’s a bed and you clothing is in the closet.

    • I was never as AT HOME anywhere as I am now. I didn’t even know I was looking for it until I found it. It’s much more than Dusty and Bear (Mindy and Lily and whoever joins me down the road) and I’m constantly trying to get rid of books. For me home is where my heart fills frequently, and I feel balanced and free. It’s significant that the San Luis Valley is very like Montana but with better winters with longer days.

      I wasn’t at home in China. I “made it work” in California. Denver was home because I knew it well, but I didn’t like it. This is it. My house is a composite of all the places I lived and was happy. I have mountains on all sides. This is the place to which all the other ‘homes’ led me as if they said, “It’s kind of like this. You’ll know it when you see it.”

  3. I’d love to be able to live in my home, northern Michigan, for spring and fall. The rest of the year is too buggy or too frigid.

  4. I think we all know in our hearts when we’re ‘home.’ For me it’s the mountains of Virginia. I’m not home yet, but I’m aiming my life towards getting there.

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