Coming Home: Sometimes we need to take a different road to get back home
by Jessie Veeder
Last week I took a different road from town to home. I do that sometimes, to break up the scenery that flies by outside the window of my car. There were blossoms in the brush patches, the gravel roads had dried up from a week of rain, and I needed to see something new.
And it was only Monday.
But as the sun was setting on a day that took him to work and kept me home trying figure out a way to rock the baby, type and return a phone call at the same time, we found ourselves all three alone in the car together, driving home.
I can’t remember why we were all in town together, but I do remember that the radio was low and the baby was sleeping and I turned left off the highway where I normally would keep going straight and my husband asked what I was doing.
I said, “Don’t you ever take a different way home?”
“Yeah, I do sometimes,” he replied. And then we were on the back roads driving past neighbors’ houses we haven’t seen for a while, taking note of the green grass growing in the pastures, the baby calves kicking up their heels and the way the light hit the big butte close to home.
And under that butte, right next to the road, two large dark figures appeared before us and revealed themselves as giant elk. I reminded him of the weekend before
when three came down from the hills to water at the dam outside our window as I slowed the car down to take a better look at the animals that always seem to take our breath away.
Yesterday morning while the baby slept, I watched a flock of turkeys come down to the same dam to water. They lingered there undisrupted, one tom fanning his feathers, showing off in the morning sun.
I was wrapped up in the tasks of the day, the dirty bottles in the sink, the dirt tracked in on the floor and the work deadlines, but the privilege of witnessing wild things never fails to make me pause.
I’m glad we put so many windows in this house. Sometimes it’s easy to forget what a majestic place we’re living in when we’re living in it. I looked up from my computer screen and watched them waddle up the hill. I cracked the patio door and listened for the gobbles.
Last Saturday my husband arranged for my little sister to babysit for a few hours so we could take a ride together through the cows. It was a simple gesture that put me back in one of my favorite places after over a year of giving it up to grow and care for a baby. I swung my leg up over the saddle and listened to it squeak as I rode alongside my husband out of the barnyard and into the hills, the sun and the scent of plum blossoms.
In the past few months I’ve experienced some of the most wonderful moments of my life, but I’ve also found myself overcome with the task of working, mothering and trying to figure out how to be my best for my family. I’ve had my most happy moments, but I’ve also had my most ungrateful waves rush over me in frustration and exhaustion. But last Saturday my husband took me out — not to a movie or to a restaurant for wine — but out of our house and into the hills and coulees of the place we love.
Because he knows, sometimes all I need is to take a different way home.
Your writing hits close to home many times. Thank you for the reminder that it’s good to try other ways home. You never know what you may see.