Home is where?

GrandfatherClockThere’s no single place on Earth that I can point to as home. No particular state, town, or house.

The longest I’ve ever lived in one city continuously was six years. The most time I’ve spent in a particular dwelling? Five years.

I’m not sad about it. I actually love to move, explore new places, learn the nuances of language and culture in every new location. I guess I’m a nomad at heart.

I always say, “Home is where the ones I love are.” And it’s true, but even the fiercest wanderer likely craves some thing, some tangible object that whispers of home in their heart.

The furniture, art, and souvenirs my husband and I have collected over nearly two decades give me that sense, but the things that make me feel rooted despite a transient lifestyle are those that still fill my dad’s house (no matter where he’s landed for the moment).

The shrunk (German cabinet) my mom hand-painted in our tiny apartment when we lived in Heidelberg, family photos that have filled the walls for as long as I can remember, the old cane chairs that were part of my parents’—and later our—first dining set.

And the antique grandfather clock my parents bought on our first tour in Germany when I was just a baby. That dark old man with the brass face has been part of my family since my earliest memories, and its deep, familiar gong has always heralded home.

Now that clock is in my house.

Every time I enter the dining room and see it standing sentinel, I smile. When I pull the chain to wind it, cradling the heavy weight with its earthy, metallic scent, I smile. When I sit in my favorite chair in the neighboring room and hear the low, slow tick of the pendulum, I smile.

I smile, because I’m home.