A child is belting out a song at the top of her lungs whilst sitting outside on her front lawn in the afternoon sun. Her song is proud, if out of tune; she’s not yet reached the age of self-consciousness. I almost forget how it felt to be that brave.
Like slipping into an old sweater, the weight of my memories and experience envelope me and I’m no longer an observer taking in my surroundings, but an actor in an improv show in which I’m the star. It’s not just that the sights and sounds are familiar to me; I’m actively re-immersed in this life. This life, which is substantively different from that life over there.
I look around and see the silhouettes of sleeping giants – the land masses that form the coastal mountain range unevenly rising from the water, forming the undulating horizon that is so natural to me. Rolling hills shrouded in low-lying wisps of cloud and fog. It’s beautiful, mysterious, predictable, familiar, magical. It is scenery that has at once retained both its banality and its novelty.
Nowhere else fills be with this enormous and irrepressible sense of well-being. Regardless of the struggles and the stress, the bad days and bad news, or whatever negativity may cross my path, there is a fundamental happiness that radiates from within. It’s a kind of happiness that is devoid of emotion; it’s a state of being. Regardless of circumstances or events, there is something foundational at play. I feel grounded, solid, strong. Living feels effortless. I feel I belong. I know who I am, no (over)analysis necessary. I can be joyful anywhere, and I can enjoy my time in various places. But here, I am filled with a sense of calm and joy that is inaccessible elsewhere. It’s the unmistakable knowledge that I am home.