Alaska’s salmon swim to the open sea for their adult lives, but they always return home in their final phase of life. Nebraska’s brome grass is the opposite: it sets deep roots, but there’s no telling how far its seeds will spread, setting new roots in faraway places.
Moving 3,000 miles from home seemed like a good idea when we were in our 20’s, when we loaded everything we owned into a GMC Jimmy and drove north.
Alaska has given us wonderful jobs, friends, and adventures. It’s where we did adult things like start a family, sprout wrinkles, and lose our near-sited vision. We’ve been here for over 20 years, and it feels like home.
Until we actually go home, that is. Until we find ourselves back in Nebraska, shaking mulberries onto an old sheet. Or driving dusty gravel roads that, even after all these years, are as familiar as the lines in our palms. Until we smell the storms roll in and count the seconds between lightning bolts and thunder. Until we remember what it’s like to sweat for no good reason other than stepping off the front porch. Or sweat for very good reasons, like swatting a tetherball around an old rusty pole. Until we pick cucumbers that grow by the minute and bite into the sweetest sweet corn. Or the crown jewel of Midwestern produce: real tomatoes.
Now that’s home.
And of course, the people. Sitting around the dinner table, playing cards with family as if they are old friends. And old friends we love as dearly as family.
We are blessed to have two places to call home, two places we love and are loved. The brome grass in Nebraska sways in the wind, just as Alaska’s waters ebb with the tide. Both wave to us… but is it welcome home, or we’ll miss you and goodbye? Right now it’s both, as we come and go between these two worlds. Ebbing and swaying.