Coming back to Indiana is always a transition...of geography, work, friends, activities, and family.
I unpack my suitcase and find pieces of Ocracoke scattered within...a seashell, pockets of sand, or even just the sweet smell of salt and sea.
When I returned home, my house was full of arriving children and it was good to be met by those I love. I have three grown sons who have scattered like the wind, I think they received the gift of wanderlust from their mother.
For three days the house was full of noise, family, children and plenty of dishes!
Just like that they returned, except for Aaron who lives with his wife Karen and the two grandchildren just a block away. We are able to see each other's houses which is always fun for me.
Living in Indiana is not the same as Ocracoke...but it is home. My House at White Picket Gardens is aptly named because of my wooden picket fence and multitudes of flowers. The gardens are in full bloom now as well as the vegetable garden and raspberries.
When I left for Ocracoke we had a fire burn in place so my campfires came to a halt. However with the summer rain of August, all is green and lush and the ban has been lifted.
Last night around 9:00 I decided to build a campfire. The sparks and embers cracked and popped under a sky of stars and towering trees. Within minutes my driveway was a parking lot for bikes. The children just kept coming.
My neighborhood is one of the last old neighborhoods. Children play outside until their parents call them in, and that is usually when the parents want to go to bed. The kids spend each moment outside. They gather rocks, play kickball in the field, let ice cream drip on the pavement, and let the sun of summer turn their winter skin to gold.
As the kids kept coming, I lit candles around the garden, and pulled out the bags of marshmallows from the kitchen. A ring of children circled the fire as we roasted the marshmallows and told ghost stories. They told me tales about the haunted houses in the neighborhood, their eyes wide open, and faced nodding in agreement.
I just kept passing around marshmallows and agreeing with them. Who would want to live in a neighborhood without a haunted house here and there?
The embers burned low around 11, and each one got back on his/her bike and meandered off into the darkness toward home. I am sure none of them had a shower or a bath, but instead went to sleep with summer dirt on their bare feet and sticky fingers from the marshmallows. But does it really matter?
Tomorrow school starts for my neighborhood so last night was our farewell to summer nights. All I hope is that when they are grown, they have fond memories of biking off into the night, playing ball in the dirt field, and having parents who let them grow up outside one sunny day at a time.
Thanks to all the children who make my life sweet and happy back home in Indiana.