There is an emanation from the heart

which cannot be described,

but is immediately felt and puts

the stranger at his ease.

~Washington Irving

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough...

.........and more.

It turns denial into acceptance,
chaos to order, confusion to clarity.

It can turn a meal into a feast,

a house into a home,

a stranger into a friend.

~Melody Beattie

Don't be satisfied with stories,

how things have gone with others.

Unfold your own myth.

May my life be like a great

hospitable tree, and may

weary wanderers find in

me a rest.

~John Henry Jowett

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Returning Home to Summer

A heart in two places has been the story of my life since Stuart and I first met here in Oxford, the summer of 1998.

Not a true likeness-but you get the idea.
My heart stretches from the UK to Atlanta, Georgia, out to California, up to Washington state and back down to Florida, with Nebraska in between. With three children, four grandchildren, and a large extended family, I'm pulled back to the U.S. several times a year.  There's always a birthday, a baptism, a birth, or a wedding to call me back. This spring it was children, a new baby and a wedding that took me home.  Between flying and driving, I traversed 17,000 miles in five weeks.

I left in April showers and returned home to summer.  I left behind wilted and waning daffodils and returned to Queen Anne's Lace.

Doorway Roses
Broadway, Gloucestershire
June 2013

After being gone five weeks my flowers were neglected and sad, so I came back to hours of gardening. But I also came home to June roses.

I was in urban America, Atlanta humidity, California sunshine, and the wide open spaces of the wild West.  I came home to punters on the Cherwell, Shakespeare in college gardens, and students in caps and gowns on their way to exams, not to mention the hijinks of students finished with exams. In other words, the Oxford summer.

It seemed like one minute I was on my brother's sail boat or driving along the California coast on Highway 101, from Santa Barbara, down past Malibu and into LA, and the next moment there I was, back on Holywell Street, walking through our front door.

Gate and clock tower
Harris Manchester College
June 9, 2014, 10pm

I put my bags down and immediately started cleaning and addressing a list of things as long as my arm left undone for 5 weeks-welcome home! But I also returned to the late afternoon sun bouncing off the golden Cotswold stone of New College, a fridge stocked for the summer with pear cider (something not to be found in the U.S.), and being able to go for a walk at 10pm on a long summer evening.

So in case you haven't noticed, and I didn't notice it myself until recently, when I fly back to the U.S. I say I'm going home, and when I return to Oxford I'm going home.  From Oxford to the Pacific Ocean, it's all home and in the past six years my heart has learned to stretch the entire 5,000 miles.  It hasn't been easy but it's been worth every mile.

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