No place like it
After a bit over three hours, we enter Massachusetts and my body sighs and thinks, "I'm home."
I haven't lived here full time since 1987. I haven't had a mailing address here since 1992. But when my car crosses the border and I look around at the peaks around me (so lush and green right now, amazingly vibrant in oranges, golds and reds in the autumn and pure white in winter), at the wide expanses of fields of cows, horses, or wildflowers, at the array of blue mountain lakes, I know - without a doubt - that this is the place I will always think of first and foremost as home.
I'm not sure I'll ever live here again. After over a decade in NJ, I've put down roots there - my job, my friends, my home, a proximity to New York City that I love - each tethering me to the area and making it harder to imagine moving back here.
And yet, being here is a breath of fresh air. I sit in my mom's kitchen and soak her up as much as I can. My children nuzzle against her while she reads them stories. I gaze out the window and see nothing but trees for as far as the eye can see. Later today, we will head out into my mom's backyard to play in the sun.
Tomorrow, we will retrace our trip in the opposite direction, heading south and watching the landscape change again. When we pull into our driveway, I will smile in relief at being back in our own home. We will unload and unpack and settle back into the good life we've made there. And start looking forward to our next trip north again.