I don’t remember if it was the way the wind blew the salt water, or the way the mountains towered, or the warm embraces of long-missed friends– but when I stood on Bishop’s beach in Homer, Alaska, that spring morning in 2002, I felt like I had come home.
I had returned to my childhood home for a month that turned into two and then three and only ended at six because my oldest brother was marrying my best friend back in Florida.
During those six months I fell in love, again, with the wilds of Alaska. I climbed mountains and watched eagles fly. I touched glaciers and rode in pint-sized airplanes that swooped low over tiny islands in the Aleutian chain. I fished and laughed and taught songs about Jesus to groups of kids.
I visited my friend Shaina and was served chai tea in warm mugs. We shared memories of exploring all over the Bible School campus and she showed me a drawing of “fairyland,” the world we created while playing on the classroom-building lawn. My fingers traced the castles made of clouds and I felt like my childhood jumped out of the framed drawing and into my life again.
I love my home. I love the farm with the flat land and windmills and pine trees. I love the ravine and the creek and the apple trees on the fence line. I love standing on the edge of the driveway and looking out for miles across the Adirondack mountains. I love the maples and the sweetness of spring.
But, today, I miss Alaska.