Home: Brothers, Birthdays, and Island Life

For the first time since I was 11, I took a trip that made me feel homesick.

The night I arrived in Guatemala, after two weeks of family emergencies and stress, I cried because I wanted to go home. I sucked it up… the internship ended up being an incredible experience that I’ll remember forever. I absolutely loved the work. But man, that feeling of homesickness stuck with me throughout my stay. Even as I was enjoying beautiful Guatemala and the archive, I missed Kingston. I missed my family. I missed the gorgeous summer months of busking in my fairy wings, the drive-in theater, the barbecue dinners, music nights with my community, sailing, all the joys of summer with my brothers and friends on Wolfe Island. It was an odd feeling. It’s making me think about what home really means.

Flying home. The trip started at 3:30am and ended at midnight. Whew.

For years I’ve argued that home is people, not a place.

I still think that’s true – after all, Wolfe Island would not feel like home without the family and community I have there. But there’s definitely an element of place to that feeling of home, isn’t there? We tie memories to places and that history is what can feel like home. Stepping off the ferry and picking up a licorice stick at Mosier’s, for example. Or walking downtown and knowing the streets, the shops, and the faces I pass. That comfortable familiarity I used to dread is now something I miss when I’m on the road.

My parents have moved to a new house on the island, but it still feels like home.

That’s because Mom has learned dozens of little tricks along the way to make a place instantly feel ours. She puts up some of our art, lights a dozen little candles in every corner, sets the instruments in a corner, adds splashes of color here and there, and diffuses some oils to make the place smell “ours.” Elisha does a little baking, and bam. It’s our home, no matter where we are.

And on a community level… It’s really lovely to have people geographically close enough to drop by. We can make that community happen anywhere in the world, of course. People who travel at a slower pace are able to create that kind of home regardless of location. But the longer you stay, the easier that becomes. On Sunday, we had a “July baby” birthday party. All of our people in the area showed up. It was amazing.

All together, we turned 146.

I’ve been home six days already, which seems wild to me.

Each day has been packed full of adventure, quiet rest, brotherly love, and special little home moments. I crashed hard on arrival, completely exhausted. On day six, I’m almost back to normal. I’ve been driving teens around to movies and fun things, sailing with the boys, going on walks and listening to all the funny important little details of their lives, having tea with my momma, pushing Will into the lake, joking with my dad, and just soaking up every moment that I have. I miss Gabe. He’s in Maine, chasing his dreams and rocking at life.

Also, Elisha (now 17) gave Ez and I the absolute COOLEST birthday present. Update soon.

More photos:

Will showed up with flowers for me.
My menfolk.
Birthday photo! I’ll turn 21 in a minute.

Guess who got pushed in?

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