Where I Belong

Heceta Head lighthouse and cove

Photo: Anna Ozab

When I’m on the Oregon Coast, I feel like I belong there.

I love the sound of the waves and the smell of the ocean. I love the beautiful rock formations, the stunning cliffs, and the cold wind. I love the wildness of the beaches, so untamed compared to the tidy and overcrowded stretches of hot sand in Southern California.

I love the lighthouses. I’ve visited all eight on the Oregon coast, and several in Washington as far north as Puget Sound. I own a collection of lighthouse figurines made by a regional artist—one for every beacon I’ve visited.

I love the coast and I got to spend the last four days there. Now that I’m home, I miss it but I realize that I don’t belong there.

I belong here, in Eugene, with the fans running throughout our apartment to keep cool as the temperature climbs closer to 90°. I belong here at my laptop typing these words. I belong here, with the laundry laid out on the bed waiting to be put away.

Why? Not because of Eugene, with all it’s quirky charms, or because of the heat that I’d rather do without, or because of laptop that I barely opened in the last week, or the laundry that I’ll put away eventually.

I belong here because Julia and Anna are here. We were together on the coast and now we’re together at home.

And wherever they are, that’s where I belong.

Five Minute Friday

A Book About Home

Empty room

I’m writing a book about home.

It’s about a lot of other things too. Cleft lip surgery, apraxia of speech, learning how to be a dad (and a stay-at-home dad at that), faith, challenges, struggles, disappointments, surprises, and above all hope.

But one of the themes that runs through the book is home. Coincidentally, I posted a response to this very same prompt last month. I guess there are only so many writing prompts out there. Sort of like how there’s only six stories that get retold with differing details time and time again.

But just like with the stories, it’s the details that matter. The details that turn “home” into “my home.” The specific things, and more importantly the specific people.

When the time came for us to move, and I walked through that empty house that I describe in Chapter 37 of my book, I find myself remembering the rooms as they were and some of the memories associated with them. The house as a building is no longer home, but the memories still are.

Elsewhere in the book, I return “home” to my parents’ house in the city I lived in through my teenage years—the city I call my hometown. It’s while I’m down there, with Julia and Anna back in Oregon, that I realize that the house and the city I’d reflexively called “home” isn’t home anymore. Home is where my wife and my daughter are. That’s Oregon now. Though I don’t call myself an Oregonian, I’ve become one because my family is here.

And where my family is, that’s home.

Five Minute Friday