* My heart goes out to all those affected by the hurricanes, floods, and fires this season. I’m so sorry. *
I’m home after a long journey.
“Hello, house,” I say, unsure of whether she will be angry that I was gone so long. The house says hello, stretches her doors open to me. Beautiful wood, mess for me to clean up, smelling of mildew, a jumble of love and work. She missed me, I’m the careful one. The mother. Organizing, reorganizing, getting rid of the detritus. It will take some time to get this place back in order, and it will always be a tropical order; slightly chaotic, moldering on the edges, a little damp.
It’s been raining, to put it mildly. We have arrived at the tail end of an abundant rainy season and everything is green, exploding with life, growing with mold and spores. This town goes through an amazing transformation every year. When I left, it was brown and brittle under a hot wind. But now… how do I describe how this tropical air feels? The clouds drape around the mountains closely, white against deep green. And the air is wet, close to the face, hot in the middle of the day. Vines trail over everything, flowers heap themselves against the fences on the sides of the road. The world is heavy with growth.
I’ve lived here for five years, but the air and the smells somehow still bring me back to India at first glimpse. I’m snapping back into life her, muscle memory crackling as I take the motorbike to the market. But in those first two days when I arrived, I kept being drawn back into the first months in India, into every monsoon. And the flashes of memory brought deep love, reminders of young children, arms and legs and nursing babies. So it is a comforting feeling, this wet air. And the smells of mildew remind me of coming home.
As I am. I’m coming home. Over the next few days I have to scrub and organize my kitchen and sort through all the clothing in the house (somehow it is all on the wrong shelves). I have a house helper, a partner in crime, and I am very thankful for her right now, as it all threatens to overwhelm me. I’ve never been so great at housework. So much of life is managing things, it seems, figuring out the kids’ schedules and homeschool season, helping friends in town, hours in markets finding good things for us to eat. I have learned to love it, to lean into it. I’m waking the muscle memory for this now. I’m excited to get back into community rhythms at Shekina Garden, and I’ve signed myself up to cook the next two weeks of community lunches. Home.
The kids seem very settled and happy. Especially Isaac, who had lost his mind a bit there, at the end. He keeps spotting me in the house and running over to hug me out of pure happiness. I’m working on habits, all the good ones (writing and exercising) and bad ones (despair and panic) are all in the muscle memory as well. But I have changed, in these months away, and I’m reaching to the light places. Clearing the mold away. Saying hello to my neighbors and friends. Hearing the little bits about what's been going on here and there.
A couple of practical things: I wrote a post for The Charis Project after spending a day with them. The post is up! If you are looking for a place for your giving dollars, I can’t recommend Charis enough—they are an organization that works to support marginalized families in order to keep them together.
“This is the vision I caught so clearly as I went with Charis staff from hut to hut, watching and joining in as they greeted, chatted, answered questions and sat for hours together with women in the lower margins of society. This is the kind of support that allows a mother with a special child to keep him.” Read it here.
Also, I’m soooo close to finished with my final edit on Shaper’s Daughter, World Whisperer Book 3. I’ll be sending review copies out to my Amazing Unicorn Readers’ Group for proofreading and reviews soon. The whole series will be getting a makeover too. (Yes, another one! We haven’t quite hit the genre expectations for covers yet something something, so I hired a professional book cover Artist.)
And… I’m working on a fourth Journey Mama Writings book. So that's exciting! There are always new days to write, new days to make things.