Today ends my six-months “summer” rental in the mountains. And if I say that I am going home for the winter, I am also very much leaving home as for over 10 years I have rented the same flat in the same village in the Swiss Alps. Not only, but it is a village to which I first came as a couple before the children, then every summer with first the oldest son then both of them then just the younger. It is the village to which I returned looking for a more permanent rental after the death of my husband and is truly also a “home” to me.
Then there are the other “homes”: my parent’s house whilst they were still alive – a home is not only determined by a physical spot (the house in which I spent the most years of my youth was not the house that they built after I left for boarding school, but was the house they retired to and still lived in until their deaths – it was thus also my home), but by the people in the house. I have been lucky throughout my lifetime that not only did my sisters and brother spend a great deal of time in their present homes, but also my in-laws never changed houses from the ones in which I first met them. Other “homes” that I have visited and lived in for almost longer than I remember: homes that saw the cousins be little together (both my sons were 8 months when they met their American cousins – and in one case about the same for the German cousins and the other even younger).
Not to mention the homes – houses where I feel entirely at home – of friends that I have been privileged to meet over the years (some of you may know who you are, some perhaps not, but they range from Alaska, through Seattle, down to Arroyo Grande with a jog inland to Sonora and Shafter on the West Coast; from the New Forest in England, to Argelès-sur-Mer in Southern France). Places that I have spent quality time with very good friends.
There are also probably a few that I have not visited in recent years and thus have temporarily forgotten to put on the list, but they did exist and there will probably also be others.
And the theme of going home whilst leaving home can be easily extended to children: those who’s parents stay in the family home, the one to which they return be it only for a holiday, but also the one to which they sometimes return after a change in their own lives. They too have their own “home”, yet they can be said also to be “coming home.”
So as I leave my mountain home I also return to my city home: both are truly homes in my heart.
|Les Marécottes, bottom floor of right chalet|
|home - a snowy year|