Coming Home at Twilight in Late Summer
We turned into the drive,
and gravel flew up from the tires
like sparks from a fire. So much
to be done — the unpacking, the mail
and papers; the grass needed mowing …
We climbed stiffly out of the car.
The shut-off engine ticked as it cooled.
And then we noticed the pear tree,
the limbs so heavy with fruit
they nearly touched the ground.
We went out to the meadow; our steps
made black holes in the grass:
and we each took a pear,
and ate, and were grateful.
— Jane Kenyon
I love this–it’s like the sigh at the end of a long day, when you finally get to sink into your armchair, take off your heels (or kick off your flip-flops), and give your poor, neglected dog some attention. From the beginning to the end of the poem, nothing except speaker’s outlook has changed–bags are still packed, mail still needs to be dealt with, the lawn still needs care–but in focusing on that which makes her life individual and chosen and meaningful, the speaker is able to put all of the little burdens in perspective.
There’s a moment–after I’ve finished up everything that I had to do at school, after I’ve dealt with whatever errands and vital tasks were pressing, after all of the requirements and responsiblities of the day roll off –that feels as utterly peaceful and perfect as finding joy in the simplicity of the dripping sweetness of a pear.
I love that moment. Don’t get me wrong, I love plenty of other moments during my day–the rush of adrenelin when an idea or a theory clicks with something unconnected that lets you see both more clearly, the thrill of creating a well-turned phrase or finding an exact metaphor, the fun of planning a menu or an outfit or a research project. But that moment. The home-at-last moment– it might be my favorite. I’m think I’m essentially a homebody: by a certain time of night I want to be home with my dog and my cat, curled up in my fuzzy socks with a good book or a good movie and a cup of tea.
And so I’ve been a trifle uncomfortable with my recent Wednesday Wanderlust episodes. While there are hundreds–thousands–of places that I’d love to visit, and undoubtedly someday shall, I don’t particularly want to travel right now. Right now, I want to be right where I am. Finishing my undergrad. Researching PhD programs and dreaming about where the next step might take me. And home in my fuzzy socks.
(And this random moment of appreciation in the middle of my busy week came about because I’ve been reading all sorts of travel blogs by people my age who are knocking about all around the globe. And there’s a part of me that is jealous of those adventures. But my life is as I have created it. And it is quite fabulous.)