My definition of home is not a word I can say or a thought I can think, but a feeling. This feeling is like a calm that settles over me like a blanket, just a quiet assurance telling me I belong in that place. It took me forever to understand where exactly that place was, and the answer was always right in front of me. This feeling would come and go, and I would never recognize it because I knew that only my address and the house that I parked my car at and went in to eat and sleep for 18 years was my home. I never realized that the place I lived wasn’t my home, and I really didn’t want to either.
When I was a child, I would accompany my family on Sunday outings. We would drive up to the mountains for a picnic or to take short hikes. I would hop in the back of the big burgundy minivan and watch the scenery change as we winded up the mountain roads, continually saying, “Are we there yet?” Every time though, I would look around at all of the trees and the mountains, and feel the sharp cold that it brought in the early fall through winter. I would get that feeling then, but wouldn’t know what to do about it. I just thought it was the weather or the mountain air that was doing it. I came up here fly fishing once with my father and we camped in a state park somewhere up here. But I really didn’t want to leave, even though it was two six foot plus men in a small tent. There was just a lingering feeling the mountains gave me. Needless to say, the location was one of the determining factors that led me to choose this college. Since I’ve begun to live here I have had that feeling that this is my home. But it took me a few weeks to realize that. What led me to the realization of this was a trip I took last week.
Tuesday night while sitting in a lonely nursing home my great-grandfather’s long and successful life came to it’s end. Since my mother didn’t have a strong father figure, she was pretty much raised my him and was close to him all her life. I could tell when she called me to tell me that he had died that she wasn’t doing so well. I knew I couldn’t come home then since I had classes on Wednesday, so I decided to come home after my last class that afternoon to be with my mom. I left the school in the afternoon and got home as it was just beginning to get dark at good old Rutherfordton. I pulled up to the house and immediately it hi...
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...ng that I got when I pulled into the parking lot. Just about everyone in the hall was watching a movie in my room and I was lying motionless on the floor, but I had a calm reassurance seeping through my mind. It wasn’t the people there, it wasn’t the building, it wasn’t my girlfriend asking me if I was ok, it was just that feeling.
Waking up the next morning in my own bed was a glorious experience in every way. Just hearing the roar of the air conditioner and the light seeping in through the closed blinds, combined with the mixed smell of pizza and floor cleaner, gave me such a wonderful feeling. As I went through my morning ritual I had an extra step in my stride, whether it was brushing my teeth or sipping my coffee while listening to music. As I was going to my first class I went out the side door and immediately the crisp, sharp mountain air hit me. I walked around the partition and saw the huge trees right outside my window, and just looked around at everything as if I had been given a new set of eyes. The mountains give off such a beautiful glow at all times during the day and night, giving me that feeling of comfort and security that tells me that this is my home.
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