I have lived in many different places. At 14 I moved to Virginia for boarding school. At 18 I moved to Turlock, CA for college, than at 19 I transferred universities and moved back home. At 20 I moved into my sorority house. At 22 home again, at 23 to Scotland, and at 24 home again. During all these moves and all these new places I have learned that there are many definitions of home.
When I was a little girl, right after we had gotten my pony, I was spending the day at the barn with the older girls washing horses. We had left them in a grassy area to graze and dry in the sun. While we waited we were sitting in the tack room when we got a phone call from a neighbor down the road asking if we were missing a pony. Sure enough my pony was gone.
We politely told the woman on the phone that we were indeed missing a pony, and were on our way to get her, apologizing for the inconvenience. As we walked down to get her, I was too small and young to go by myself, the older girls speculated that she had tried to go home. Though the only reasoning behind this was that she had gone roughly in the direction of the barn she had been at before.
And yet there had to be some sort of pull to convince her to leave the grass behind. This pony was a food connoisseur, known to eat anything from pizza to banana peels. There was no way she would have left that grass without a good reason, so perhaps is really was the draw of home, of a familiarity that she longed for.
She eventually settled in, found new familiars and stronger pulls, such as Strawberry Kiwi Gatorade and Big Hunk candy bars, just as I found new familiars to comfort myself when I missed the old. I’d like to say that home is where you make it, but for me, in those many places I have lived, I have felt at home, but not actually home. Perhaps I should take a lesson from my horses and remember that home is where the hay is, for at the very least I have found that when I am with a horse and away from home, it is the closest to home that I feel.
Me on the Runaway pony, Jasmine.