How Home Grows

One of those moments
One of those moments

Anyone who moves anywhere waits for this moment: the moment when you realize that you’d miss the place if you ever had to leave.

At first, when you move, the opposite is often true. The new place feels strange and you wish you could go back to the other one which, regardless of your reasons for leaving in the first place, had at least become comfortable. Known.

I remember when we first drove into our new town in Vermont, we’d been driving all night, and in the warm morning sun that would have seemed welcoming had everything not felt so odd, my husband said: “Look at those mountains. Aren’t they beautiful?” But my first thought, which I didn’t actually say, was: no. Swollen and green, they seemed to bear down on the car windows, closing in. I missed the wide blue of Lake Michigan.

Settling in, fighting homesickness, you eventually realize you only build a life by trying to, and we had moved enough to know we had to.

So we did. We went to town, shopped there, talked to people, walked in the woods, met our neighbors, attended playdates, made friends, found a church, planned a garden, raised chickens, adopted cats, muddied our floors and mopped them again and again, put pictures on the walls, and just generally bore down and took up the task of living where we were.

And then they started to happen: those moments.

Sometimes they were dramatic, like when I came back from a run at sunset and saw cloudfires, red and orange, set against the silhouette of Jay Peak. Sometimes they were ordinary, like when my kids and their friends spent a whole afternoon building a fort out of sticks (the “Ever Kids Club,” they called it) on the first semi-warm day of 2013. Either way, they were happening.

I had another one of them this Sunday. My neighbor and I went riding, as we often do, and it was just one of those perfect September days: warm, bright, too early for hunting season, too late for bugs, and we were cantering the horses down the middle of a dirt road, above the valley that dips to Lake Memphremagog, between mountains. In one of those rare moments when full appreciation aligns perfectly with experience, when you catch yourself truly loving the moment in real time instead of retrospect, I realized how much I do have here, in this new place which was only a year ago strange and frightening. Which is not to say that I don’t still miss Lake Michigan. I’ve just made room in my heart for more.

Back at the barn, my neighbor and I were trying to figure out how many more trail rides we could work in before rifle season. “We’ve got to do lots of these,” we agreed.

And how nice it feels to know there’s plenty of time.


8 thoughts on “How Home Grows

  1. So good to continue reading about your life adventures. Thank you for sharing your wonderful words. Know that even though you have found Vermont home now, you are missed in northern Michigan. Lots of love to you and your family.

  2. Golly gee whiz, Sarah. Your writing always moves me and seems to hit the nail on the head for me. I can so identify with your sentiments. Was great to see you this summer. Wish there could have been more time to talk. You did such a beautiful job with Bree’s bachlorette party. Was one of the highlights of the crammed full few days. Have a great fall and keep me on your list of folks to send your treasures to. Love, Diana

    1. Thank you Diana. I appreciate that you’re still reading and that the posts speak to you! This summer was great– but you’re right, too short. Hopefully we can have some more leisurely chats next time around. My love to you and KP!

  3. Hello! I just found your blog this evening and I have really enjoyed reading through your older posts. I felt like you were talking straight to me when I was reading about your moves and how you have handled this last one. My husband and I are in the process of moving from Nebraska to Georgia. He’s already moved and I’m trying to sell our house and close things up here. Even though we decided together we wanted to make a new life somewhere else, I’m scared and nervous to go and to leave. But your words have really helped. Your blog is lovely and I’m so happy our paths crossed. I look forward to reading more from you.


    1. Sarah, thank you so much for reading! I’m really glad my pieces on moving were helpful for you. Every time I meet someone who has moved far away (from home, back home, wherever), I feel an immediate sense of community; it’s a jarring yet deeply meaningful and valuable experience. Best wishes to you and your husband during this transition!

  4. Hello Sarah, Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts in your beautiful writings. We were part of your life for a little while – what a blessing. Remember the little friend from up the road that gave Aaron the lantern? It is almost Saint Martin’s day again and the horse will ride again and some lanterns will burn again. Life continues – in Birkach and in Vermont. Lots of love, Mareike

    1. Mareike, as St. Martin’s Day approaches, we miss Germany so much! We wish we could walk with Elinor through the streets of Birkach again. We also feel blessed to have been part of your lives, and hope we can see you again one day.

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