This is home

I grew up in a small town, and I now live in an even smaller town. Actually, I don’t even live in a town. I live in the country.

Out here, you will not find any of these:

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And, not many of these:

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But, you will find these scattered along the countryside:

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You will see these grazing in green pastures:

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And, from time to time, you will find these pecking away in your neighbor’s yard:

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As small as my town may seem to you, it feels even smaller to me, like an old pair of jeans I’ve long since outgrown. As a teenager these words, “I can’t wait to leave this place,” must have rolled from my tongue, like stones under rushing water, at least a dozen times a day. In my mind, I could see this small town, sinking and sinking, farther away in my rear view mirror as I left it and all it’s contents far, far behind on a bright, August morning. There would be no tears or regrets just the road before me and my dreams lighting the way. That was back when I still thought the world was flat and a man lived on the moon.

How quickly innocence fades in the shadows of adulthood. I tried to leave, but my feet could not tread water in asphalt seas. My voice, at it’s highest pitch, muffled by all the noise and commotion of the city, sang alto in a choir of soprano’s. My lungs crackled and wheezed without the fresh country air. I felt sick. I felt alone, just another stranger in a strange place.

Then it hit me that somehow, long ago, this small town found a way under my skin and settled in my bones, along the growth plates, within the marrow. I knew I belonged here in this small town, where the grass grows wild and green, where the mountains roll tall and wide, and the only thing scraping the sky is the limbs of an old oak tree reaching for the heavens. For me, there’s no other place I would rather be. This is home!

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