You know you’re “home” when you feel like crying in a supermarket car park while pushing a shopping trolley loaded with overpriced basics, just because. Just because the moment is perfect and just because it’s all so familiar.
I have never lived in this small seaside town before. Five months ago we lived on the other side of the world, in a beautiful place surrounded by some special people. We’ve traveled, moved, changed, searched, experimented and adventured. It’s all been a wonderful ride, but none of it has felt like home, until this moment, in a car park, surrounded by the ordinary at dusk.
I have had many sledgehammer clues beating me about the head, the obvious signs shouting “wow” in my face at every turn– the beautiful green paddocks spotted with dairy cows, the mountains, rainforest, dolphins, whales, surf, crystal clean ocean waters, white sandy beaches, rock pools, and headlands.
Add the easy laid back lifestyle, with no traffic, friendly dog walkers and cute cafes with wonderful coffee and who wouldn’t want to call this place home? And so I did. Easily. Count me in I yelled back – sign me up!
I’ve been gasping and sighing my way around town for five months. Just ask my kids who’ve listened to me shout with delight as we drive past the exact same mountain each day. “Kids- would you just look at that!” I say over and over. It’s an affliction, I feel possessed! “oooh, how about the beach today? Check out the surf and how blue is that ocean!?” I go on, and on. But anyone can love a mountain, a cow or a perfectly formed wave. Who wouldn’t love a rainforest on their doorstep or a rich satisfying espresso mid morning? And surely a whale would seal the deal. Yes it’s easy to love the beautiful, find peace in the quiet, and joy in the breathtaking.
But on this one afternoon, I stumbled over beauty, tripped on peace and bumped right into joy with my rickety trolley wheel. I headed toward my old 2nd hand car along with everyone else just trying to get home to make dinner at the end of the day- there it all was right in front of me. A whiny kid who had simply had enough, accompanied by a cranky mum who looked like she could use a little more than a foot rub. There was an old dude who was either Gomer Pyle or his twin brother searching for his car passing me more than once with whom I shared a knowing smile. A construction worker in his dusty boots ran past me to grab a couple of microwave meals, and some teens sat smoking in an idling car with all the windows down. I heard “hurry-ups”, and toddler tears in the distance, I heard engines starting, and evening plans being made on cell phones. I heard the wheel of my cart thud its way across the uneven surface.
And right then with a tap on my shoulder and whisper in my ear- I heard all that I had already known. This moment was perfect and I was exactly where I should be, in a car park – filled with ordinary moments in an ordinary life. The blackened mountains in the distance silhouetted by a weary sun packing up for the day may have cast shadows at dusk, but not shadows of doubt. I heaved my groceries into the car and schlepped my trolley back to join the others now discarded and forgotten without so much as a thank you. The thumping wheel, the cigarette smoke, the toddler tantrums and all the reality of life under a twilight sky ushered me home and then, kissed my cheek and tucked me in.