Today, I have been driving, walking, talking through a lot of loss. I am in a place I used to live, and for me, place is so central. It’s wonderful to be visiting and oh so painful.

I am not a person who likes things to end. For some, I think change is hard; not for me – I don’t mind change. In fact, I really like to try new things, go new places, meet new people. What I can’t stand is to not being able to carry all the places and people with me.

Today, I am in north east Maryland, where I used to live and teach. I drove past my old house this afternoon. The holder I bought for my garden hose is still in the front yard; the paw-paw tree that Dad planted looks solid. There was a note on the door, and it was not for me.

I went to my old campus and saw friends and former colleagues. The friends are still good and wonderful and true, but there are also relationships that are gone or almost invisible, a love affair that is totally gone, and new people who I will never know. All of this is good and right, but just because it’s right doesn’t mean it’s not hard.

I passed the farm market where I bought apples and green beans. I drove past the building where my yoga studio used to be and the town I thought might become home. I even wandered the Walmart that has become “super” in my time away.

Perhaps if the places would just change entirely or if the people also moved on, coming back would not be so hard, but I seem to be the one who moves along in life, even while others find home and settle in. You would think after 36 years of moving almost every four years I would find this itinerant life to be normal – and maybe I do – but it really never gets less painful. It simple feels like I “just can’t go home again” over and over.

The Road Home – “The Way Home” by Tandi Venter