Last week’s post described a horrid summer in Texas, worry over the gas wells going in behind my house, my escape to Ireland and homesickness.
As ready as I was to return home, a phone call toward the end of my Ireland stay tempered my anticipation. My neighbor, keeping an eye on my place, had found the hot-water heater leaking and the hardwood floors ruined. I’d be returning to buckled boards, insurance adjusters and contractors, and the prospect of moving out while the floors were replaced — just when I wanted to be home.
I was home for six weeks of beautiful fall weather. I cherished that time, despite the mildew and buckled boards. Then I was exiled for six weeks while repairs were made. Though I stayed just a mile away in a lovely vacation rental, again I yearned for home.
At long last, I’m back. The drought has ended around here, things are green, and the lakes are full. There haven’t been wildfires closer than western New Mexico or Colorado.
Neighbors said the hill blocked noise from the gas-well drilling (comforting in case they ever drill the remaining 13 anticipated wells on the same pad site). The well was fracked, but no pipeline has been installed, so they can’t pump. The price of natural gas has dropped, and drilling companies are cutting back their activities in the Barnett Shale. I hope they never start pumping.
Now the temperature’s starting to creep up, and I know it won’t be long before I’m dreaming of an escape to the mountains of northern New Mexico, or the Oregon coast, or someday Ireland again. I’ll always travel, but I have no interest in a lengthy stay or in ever relocating.
I’ve learned that there’s no replacing a lifetime of friends, of memories, of a sense of place. I’m home, for good this time, as long as God will let me.
Read more of my Irish adventures in earlier blog posts here, or see my travel stories and photos at www.360westmagazine.com, “Digital Edition,” “May 2012.” Go to “Contents” and click on “Destinations.”