> jumping into life.

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After eight hours of driving, I look up from the UHaul I'm following - the Most Economical Way to Move! - and suddenly I'm in the brawny hills, sunset light gilding the still-green grass, north slopes knit with live oaks, ravens wheeling, and something in my heart whispers home. I am grateful that my brother is snoring in the seat beside me, for the tears come quick and hard. I can feel the ocean coming like a sob, and last night I fell asleep to the purr of wind in the pines and the yawping of sea lions on the pier.

Life opens like a door, and light pours through and silence, and the pure wash of gratitude, stunning as music. Do you remember the first time you heard Beethoven? I ripple with newness, testing freedom like a new muscle. The air here tastes thick and wet, even in the afternoon after the fog has burned. Already I miss the desert stars and our fancy dinners. Already I want to move on, or to stay here, or to go back - anything but limbo. Already some knot in my soul is untying itself, and the moments beat themselves out like a mantra: home, home, home. Every pine and cypress, every curl of fog.

And death - as per always - stalks the margins, moving in for a better view. My aunt is unlikely to see the end of the week, my mother flying across the country tomorrow. But there is green here, and grey skies, and home. Home.

Welcome home.

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