I work from home in Georgia and at the end of the day I need to get out of the house. This is such a departure from my life in Portland, Seattle and San Diego where long commutes made me never want to leave home. There were…a lot (ahem)…of weekends when my car would stay in the garage, I’d stay in pajamas longer than I’ll ever admit and the string of Nancy Meyers and Nora Ephron movies would be interrupted only by trips to the coffee pot.
But here I actually want to leave the house! I call it “driving Miss Becky” since Stephen drives everywhere and I sit in the passenger seat, taking it all in, with my purse planted firmly on my lap. New songs are continually added to the soundtrack–Otis Redding, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Allman Brothers, Nina Simone, Tedeschi Trucks, Mississippi John Hurt, The Wood Brothers. Lyrics hit me in just the right way and I tear up and get chills at least once every drive. And just FORGET IT if an old gospel song comes on. We may not go to church on Sundays, but it happens in that car on more random Tuesdays or Fridays than I can count.
I can’t get over the light down here. It’s farther south than I’ve lived in over a decade, it’s definitely sunnier than the Pacific Northwest and we’re right at the edge of the time zone which makes the evenings a little later but there is something else. Maybe it’s the open space and clouds that change things so dramatically, maybe it’s because I’ve been inside all day, but the other frequent soundtrack in the car is me blurting out “is anyone behind you?!” Stephen checks and immediately slows down or pulls off to the side of the road because he understands sometimes you just need capture those hay bales.
In the winter our drives landed us at the local coffee shop to get something warm to drink and play cards. This summer we frequently end up at the ice cream shop where the welcoming sign out front says “Candy * Ice Cream * Funnel Cakes * Guns * Ammo” as ice cream shops doooooo. Eventually it’s time to make our way back.
We wind our way past farms and fields, my favorite turn of the century houses, front porches filled with rockers and porch swings until we turn down my street and drive by the lake. I watch how the setting sun changes the color of the water, geese floating over the wake from fishing boats returning to the dock and my neighbors out working on their yards. I exhale as we pull into the drive. There is no place like home.