Today my head is filled with thoughts of home. The thoughts have been piling up over the past week for lots of reasons. On Easter Thursday evening I drove home from work, as usual, up our driveway admiring the evening light on the neighbours pinoaks and enjoying the colours of the vineyard turning to gold. Then my heart stopped. Adrenalin and blood surged to my brain sending my head spinning. I felt sick from the rush of it. I almost fainted at the wheel of the car as up ahead I saw our stand of pines backlit by blazing orange light. Oh my God the house is on fire, I thought and flattened my foot and raced ahead past the pines, gulping back tears that our beautiful home and all the cats and dogs and birds and personal treasures within would be burning. But as I careered up over the rise, I could see it was not a fire. It was the moon coming up. Blood red and gigantic. An awesome sight. Overwhelmed and weak from the fright, I quickly let the dogs out, fed the pig and goats and geese and ducks and locked everyone safely in then wandered out into the garden to enjoy the lovely moon above. That night, snuggled safely into our cosy bed, a line by Virginia Woolf ran through my mind: “Safe! safe! safe!’ the pulse of the house beats wildly. Waking, I cry ‘Oh, is this your buried treasure? The light in the heart.”
The very next day I had a call from my younger brother in New Zealand to tell me he had decided to sell the farm where we grew up, and though he knew the news would devastate me, he had made a decision for both business and health reasons. And again all thoughts of home and what it means ran around and around in my heart and head. To never again ride in his ute across the paddocks where we rode our horses as children. To no longer be able to visit the places where we used to float walnut boats down the creek and to race our rafts on the pond amongst the ducks and ducklings. To leave behind the view of the mountains topped with snow and the trees planted by our parents when they were young and we were babies. But life moves on and we all have to adapt to change. Though I have lived my entire adult life in Australia, and it is my home, I still say I’m going home, whenever I fly back to New Zealand. I think it’s like that for everyone who leaves their motherland and makes another country their home. They love them both, but one owns them more. And now as I write this in my little office at home here on the farm I am thinking about seeing my stepdaughters snuggled up on the sofas under mohair rugs over Easter, with cushions and cats and dogs and magazines everywhere. It was a rich and lovely feeling. They looked safe. They felt safe. There is magic in that little word home.
And today we think, with tears in our hearts, of all those servicemen and women who never got to return home.