After reading my blog on Brant Lake, Tricia called from the West Coast. “If only Dan, if only I could visit. Return, just once. Your vignettes reminded me of growing up at the lake. Every summer our family lived there—in the old stone house next to where my grandfather kept his electric power yacht. I learned to swim at Brant Lake. Caught sunfish off the dock. And the sunsets! Have you ever seen such a beautiful red sky?”
“Well, Tricia, why don’t you come for a visit?”
”I mean to,” Tricia said. “I mean to—but I just don’t do it.”
As Tricia’s voice trailed off, my thoughts drifted back to the years when I also wished to go home. To the white colonial house in Albany, New York where I grew up. The home still inscribed on my heart.
Empathizing with Tricia I responded.
”Tricia, passing through Albany on my way to Brant Lake there always was an underlying agenda—a pilgrimage to my house at 220 South Main Avenue. I would drive by the house, consider stopping, but I never stopped. It seemed so simple to apply the brake, ring the door bell and—go home. If only for a moment.
“I never did. Why? I am not certain. Perhaps no one would be at home. And if they were would I be intruding? Or, would I be disillusioned? So I always drove on. Sadly. Then, one year, when I paused in front of the house I noticed a man standing in the yard. Hesitant, I pulled over and said softly: ‘Excuse me, sir, I grew up here.’
“The man smiled: ‘You must be Danny. I bought this house from your mother. I raised five children here. This house has been a blessing for me and my family.’
“And then he asked the question I had hoped for: ‘Would you like to come in?’
“What could I say? ‘Yes.’ Simply, ‘Yes.’
“The house had changed over the years. The vast living room had shrunk as reality overcame my childhood image. The library shelves, formerly a subtle white, had been painted birdshell blue. And where was the yellow wing back chair where my father sat in front of the fireplace?
“Time had played its tricks but it did not matter. One undeniable fact remained. Love continued to permeate 220 South Main. The present, exquisitely alive, proclaimed the continuity of the generations of a house, and the past, well the past was securely stored in my memory.
”Will I return? Perhaps, but the yearning for what once was no longer exists.”
I paused and heard a sigh from the other end of the phone. “So, you see Tricia, you can go home. What is lost can often be found again—whether that is a place or a person. Do you have to live with longing?”
In the words of TS Eliot:
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started.
“Come home, Tricia. Come home.”