Last week, my wife and I took turns visiting Boulder. We were going to meet up with our respective parents. We were paying our respect to our parents. We had to fly back to Colorado to do that. Which was okay, since it afforded us the opportunity to commune with the commune that is/was our hometown. In the past, we have split up to make the job easier. Sometimes she has gone on ahead while I have stayed home until my work schedule allows me to get away, but we have always ended up together. That means that we spend a couple nights apart, which usually means I putter around our house until it's time for me to fly, eating TV dinners and trying to keep the rugs clean. Once we have been reunited in Boulder, we make the trip back to Oakland together.
This has a tendency to expand the meaning of home. If you subscribe to that notion that home is where the heart is, then things start to get a little confusing. We do a pretty good job sharing our hearts with those close to us, and now that our son is off on his own adventures for a good part of every year we have to be more expansive than we may have been once upon a time. My mother lives in Boulder. Her father lives in Boulder. This stretches our heartstrings in ways that we did not anticipate all those years ago when we located our base of operations a thousand miles away.
That being said, I don't know if it is possible to describe the power and love that I felt while standing in the presence of my mother and my two brothers. This is where I came from, and when I looked out the window to see freshly fallen snow cradled on the tree branches outside, it did not feel foreign. Not in the least. At the same time, there was a voice in my head calling me back over the hills and valleys to the city by the bay where my wife was waiting, having finished her check-in the day that I arrived. We had, by some odd chance of flights and coincidence, managed to miss each other coming and going. Now I was meeting with my tribe just as she had met with hers.
While we missed each other in ways both old and new, we were glad to give each other the chance to tag off on the Rocky Mountains and the people with whom we grew up. Outside, things in my hometown had rearranged themselves in little ways that made me remember how they used to be, but inside it was quietly amazing to me just how much the same they were. It felt like home. Because it was. And so was the living room on the left edge of the continent where my wife busied herself, waiting for my return. It was a profound feeling of belonging that came to me as I made my way to the airport to fly back west. My membership in Boulder had been renewed, and I was heading back to my newly expanded sense of home. It felt a little like growing up.