i grew up in a place where the sky burned like summer and wind laced our skin white with salt. where the whole of my world spanned some forty miles wide, hemmed in by blue all around.
but i left for Tertiary Education on the mainland and never did angle back. and now home is a spread of globe starched stiff with winter, where the sharp mix of cold and ash and diesel smells just right.
the name of my childhood town means ‘beloved heaven’* in hawaiian, so you’d think anything after that would be a disappointment. but solid truth: the midwest is gorgeous. all these bare-limbed woods and fields of milk sift through my pores, burrow warm in a seed of belonging. and my neighbors, with their chapped and sturdy smiles, become mine. my people. my place.
i know we’re mere sojourners, steering toward He who is home, but He tethers us together on the passing through. and every stop we make becomes my people, my place, because God lives there. and home to me is the wild and hallowed, teeming, messy, impoverished and beautiful spaces He inhabits.
*mililani can also be translated 'to praise, exalt,' 'favorite' and so on...depending on if/how you break up the word. (i think. maybe. just believe me when i say this lies FAR outside the realm of my expertise. though i can count to ten, identify colors, and sing 'ten little indians' in hawaiian.)