"Where we love is home---home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts." Oliver Wendell Holmes
It is always nice to head back home to Florida.
Not only is Mom there...but, two of my three sisters, one brother-in-law, an occasional nephew home for a visit...and a doggie named Baylee.
It is also a place where I can go and remember so much of my past...my childhood, my growing up years....and, family and friends.
Of course much has changed...but every once in a while a fragrance, an old building, a restaurant...movie theatre or a street name will bring back a memory.
I lived in S. Florida from age 7 until I left to go to college....with many visits in between...and then came back after graduation to get married there.
So much of my history is there....so much of "me" is still there.....
When I am down there I am always amazed at the flatness of the land...so flat that you can see for what seems like miles in some open areas. The Florida landscape seems strange in that I have now grown accustomed to the hilly terrain of Birmingham with an occasional mountain thrown into the mix.
The vegetation there is also so incredible...and it stays that way pretty much year round. A multitude of flowers grow there without much effort at all...it is amazing. The Bouganvilla vines bursting with color wind their way around walls and buildings without a care in the world. I am sure that the natives take this for granted after a while...but, it always amazes me when I go back and visit.
Then there is the heat and humidity. That I don't miss at all. : O
So, I returned home to Birmingham yesterday and smiled as I looked out of the plane window at the city that is so familiar to me now. I saw the landmarks that are a part of my life today. With all of its past issues and problems, it is a place that I have grown to love. It is the place where people move a bit slower and smile more often. It is the place where you often hear, "Hi y'all" or a "How are you doing?" from a stranger that passes by your way. It is the place where my two boys were born....where they went to school until it was time for them to leave for college and their own dreams....it is where my ex and I spent over thirty years together making memories that will never be erased....it is a place where my wonderful friendships have blossomed and grown through the years becoming "family" to me.
It is my home. It is where I belong.
That being said, I do know that no matter where my life takes me...no matter how comfortable I am in my Birmingham home....S. Florida will always remain "home" in my heart.