Home is:

  1. Wherever my husband and dog are.
  2. The silhouette of Hilda Peak from the trailhead along the Icefields Parkway, tiny Hilda Glacier plastered up against the back wall of the cirque.
  3. The bowl of Boundary Lake, at the border of Banff and Jasper National Parks, and the joy of swimming it brought our retrievers.
  4. Anywhere I can get to in the mountains in my hiking boots.
  5. My office: a small room stuffed with books, papers, a writing desk, and a computer in the middle of it all.
  6. Sitting on the back porch in the sun, notebook in hand and pen scratching madly across the page.
  7. This spot on this island with a beaver in the marsh out back and ducks squawking loudly as they come and go.
  8. Arbutus trees and cedars, cherry trees and mahonia (Oregon grape) in bloom.
  9. A snippet of the Be Good Tanya’s Ootischenia.
  10. The scent of lilacs from childhood.
  11. The frogs roaring in the marsh at night.
  12. The night sky twinkling with stars, free from light pollution.
  13. The bakery up the road with the fabulous thin crust pizzas.
  14. The library down the way where they know me by name.
  15. Accessing local hiking trails 7 minutes from my house.
  16. Salmon swimming upstream at Skutz Falls, exhausting themselves as they labour to reach their spawning grounds.
  17. The Lake-to-Lake half-marathon: 21 km through the woods, on a gravel rail trail between Shawnigan Lake and Lake Cowichan. Too bad it’s no longer running.
  18. A black bear appearing around a curve in the trail, as surprised by me as I am by it.
  19. Picking wild blackberries in the back yard.
  20. An overwhelming number of weeds, weeds, weeds in all the gardens.
  21. Sitting by Pass Creek in Waterton Park, the dogs swimming for toys in the current.
  22. Summer drought, when the air temperatures are high for weeks on end and there’s not a drop of rain in sight.
  23. Riding my bike on the range roads and township roads of childhood, the wind in my face and the mosquitoes flying up and over my helmet.  

Home is a moving target, a wish list and a memory, a vision of the future and a reminder of the past. Home changes over time, as your abilities and preferences shift. Home may be 2.5 acres and extensive gardens now, but in the future it might be 0.5 acres and a small garden. It might be on the Coast now, but in the future it might be a small town with views of the mountains. Sometimes I’d like to stay in one place for 25 years. Instead of moving, always moving, to find something better. What’s better? Is the grass really greener on the other side? For now home is and has been all of these things, with more to come in the future.

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