As I traveled to see my college daughter perform in her Christmas vocal concert in Salem, Oregon I was busy looking at how Oregon stacks up against Colorado. It is green, temperate, rainy, hilly, lush, crowded, expensive, eccentric, has a large homeless population, friendly, nature oriented, coffee oriented. It has many of the things I like and as always when we travel, my husband and I engaged on what ifs. I am always looking for a new place. I grew up with parents that moved dozens of times before I was eighteen. By the time I moved out (at eighteen) I had lived in California, Utah, Florida, and Texas, in many different areas and homes in those respective states. It was hard to settle as an adult, but I knew my kids needed more stability than I had. We have lived in Denver for twenty years, but true to my childhood, we have lived in the foothills of Denver, the west, north and central side. I feel that if I move, it will be a fresh start, the right fit and in some way better. Sometimes those things were true, but sometimes it just left a feeling that nowhere is home. It makes me think of belonging. Belonging is the way we identify who we are and what we care about. The small communities we make online, our families, our work families, the causes we take up with, the ways we identify ourselves with our pleasures and hobbies. Some of the ways I identify are as a lover of words, pianist, and nurse. In each of those communities I feel at home in a different way. Belonging and home go hand in hand. They are intertwined. I think life is a search for belonging to the places and people that fill something up inside of us that fits just right. It is that person we choose to partner with, the way we build and create a place for our children in our lives, the search for the environment that makes us able to feel ourselves; whether in natural beauty or in a city setting. The search for belonging and home stretch before us and change as we change, looking different at the different intersections of our lives.
*Salem , Oregon December 2019*