I am sitting at my desk, listening to the refrigerator hum it’s white nose, and I hear the first drops of rain through the open window. I have a new memory that flashes in my mind, of Maddie lying next to me on her bed, two kittens playing on her floor, telling me that her Daddy likes the way raindrops sound.
I have many new memories after a week back home in NOLA. I am grateful for the gifts that Ma-Ma continues to give me through family and laughter. On Sunday, I spent the best day I’ve ever had with family in Louisiana. Maybe it was because Ma-Ma’s life truly was celebrated: a complete success in adventure, love, and fun. She loved her life with Pa-Pa, and we all knew it. Maybe it was that I got to really hang out with my brother and sister for the first time in years, and I felt like part of the group. I’m in the most accepting place in terms of loving myself that I’ve been in so far, and that probably is a factor as well.
There are so many things I’m left with as I unpack. New old books and shoes, remnants of a life that I’ve redefined. Notes from Jared that I found next to lunches he packed, and a drawing of a mermaid from Maddie. The card that spoke of Ma-Ma’s life and death.
Jane spoke to me as an ambassador to the city we love, as she is apt to do. So few can speak for the Crescent City with authority, but Jane Talton is one of them. She told me that I always have my home. I needed to hear that this week. One of the places I’ve always considered home, on Cleary, is empty of heartbeats now. In it’s place, I have three places that welcome me with spare rooms and candles around bubble baths. I have the hydra of homes, and I love it.
The rain is picking up now. Denver lets me wash away the past, and focus on the now. I am grounded and solid. I am secure and working. I am growing and creating things that make me proud. Max even said he was impressed with all I’m doing, and while it may sound small, it means a lot to me. Max is someone whose respect I want. I have a list of folks I didn’t even get to see, like Meg and Chris, and folks I saw so briefly, like Josh. But they’ll be there, just like New Orleans will be. Home hasn’t left, even if I’m on a bit of a walkabout. And my friends, my family, my city: that’s my home. I carry enough of it with me, in me, that I can stay away. But not forever.
I have more to see, and more to do. I am nestled into a life in the mountains, and will burrow away here for at least another year. Then maybe off towards New England, Chicago, or Seattle. All the while, I’ll keep my suspension line clear and clean, allowing me to lower back into the bowl between the river and the lake. I get to fly and release. I get to lay against love no matter where I go, privileged as I am. And I get to listen to the rain, think of my niece, and smile.