The refrain began soon after the plane began its final approach to Toronto's Pearson International Airport last Thursday afternoon. A month before we had left behind piles of snow and frozen ponds to cruise the wonders of Asia. This adventure turned out to be a little more demanding than our usual world exploits, not only in terms of distance and itinerary, but also health. My lungs wheezed, sputtered and coughed in response to the poor air quality of a China in the midst of an industrial revolution fuelled almost entirely by coal. Not only was I ready to come home, I needed to come home. So there I sat on the plane, nose pressed against the window, searching for familiar landmarks, heart hungry for home. Eyes prickling, I rejoiced as a green, very green landscape emerged. A few familiar highways looped their way across the ground and beyond them, a clear, crisp horizon. There's no place like home!
A note from a friend encouraged me to re-enter my world gently, adjusting to time and space as body and soul permitted. I took this to heart and tried to keep my days back home low and slow. But through the fog of a twelve hour jet lag, lay Mother's Day. For the first time in several years I would actually be home for this celebration. Kids wanted to know what I wanted to do. DO? I didn't want to do anything. Supper out was suggested. My body groaned. I'd been eating out for a month.
"We'll be dining in," I said.
"We'll order in Chinese," they offered.
My innards contorted. I'd just spent the last two weeks eating Chinese. "No," I said. "I'll cook." I said.
"We'll help," they said.
And so it was. My kitchen and I soon remembered what good partners we are and Mother's Day was celebrated with the first BBQ of the season. Thick steak, lobster tails and potatoes - scortched but not charred - topped with sour cream and chives, a salad bowl brimming with crisp lettuces, peppers, tomatoes, cucumber and mushrooms all glistening with olive oil and splashed with basalmic. There's no place like home!
The rest of the week has unfolded, or not, as the spirit moved me, or not. I ambled through the forest once, breathing in the earthy air, daring to fully inflate my lungs. God, it felt good! My spirit rose to a profusion of trilliums, white trefoils waving in Spring delight. There were even a few purple ones - a very special gift. I strolled my own yard to take in the periwinkle in bloom, lily of the valley upstanding in their field and the promise of pies from the rhubarb patch. Even the happy gang - bright yellow dandelions - were a treat.
I've watched and listened to the birds this week. For the very first time, Baltimore Orioles have come to the feeders. The rose-breasted grosbeaks are back, along with the hummingbirds, and the gold finches have put on their summer yellows.
Best of all, last night as I put together a supper of grilled salmon and 'first of the season' asparagus (with butter & lemon), the sounds of a Spring sonata came through the open window. The splatter of rain drops and the trill of robins' song, together proclaiming,
There's no place like home!
p.s. For those wondering if there will be anymore stories and photos from our Asian Adventure on my travel blog, the answer is yes. Look for something early next week.
©2014 April Hoeller