Home is a heartbeat: reflections before the journey of a lifetime

As the holiday season comes to a close, I’ve been surrounded by family, but have been wrestling with the concept of “home” and the discomfort of not ever feeling like I’ve arrived. A trader to the predictable, I so often find myself out of step with all but a precious few. Though truly, my restless wandering is not of discontentment, but of a deep desire to expand and experience. Even so, all my life, I have tried to build my home in places and within every beloved person apart from only one – myself.

Dubbed the “vale” by our band of misfits, many summer nights found us in these hidden rural areas of Mandan, ND

The season of festivities and family has brought me back to North Dakota with an opportunity to revisit the places that decorate many of the hallowed halls of my heart. The pulse of my surroundings is faint and familiar, but life in its midst has continued steadily onward and evolved apart from me. This town, these mere locations, still have my life woven into them, and yet with eyes ever fixed on the horizon, I grew wings instead of roots. Home, I’m learning, is neither place nor person. It is, instead, what I carry within me.

The daughter of a pilot, most of my childhood is marked out on this sleepy runway

Home is a heartbeat.

My home has been haunted by uninvited circumstances, destroyed by ruthless and reckless tenants, and it has been deteriorated and left unkempt by apathy and cheap repairs. It has endured storms named after people, but it is where I retreat when darkness threatens my peace.

The iconic Bismarck, ND railroad bridge that heard all of my teenage confessions

If home is a heartbeat then these places are it’s foundation. My childhood formed its frame; choices furnish the rooms, and it is decorated with memories. It’s rhythm, a life song, an ebb and flow of love and loss, change and return. Always a return to this beautiful beating percussion safely hidden in my chest. It is never still but always steady. It perseveres as a wild, unrelenting rebellion against complacency. It drums out a fostered desire to endeavor boldly and return secure.

Grandma’s house: Grand Ole Opery watching, Saturday afternoon polka dancing, snicker bar smuggling.

I embark for the Appalachian trail in four short months. For this journey, I am ready, with humbled anticipation, to remove my self from the structure on Brookview Drive and get to know the sighs and shifts of the sanctuary being built within. All things hoped for, nurtured, and sought after, I’ll take along with me. I’ll carry them in my heart.

Forever my favorite view: The yard from a childhood friend has always had the best view of my house, the airport, and the power plant.




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