This post comes from our summer intern FP Gigi.
What sensory triggers overwhelm your consciousness with recollections of love and life? What illuminates the dusty memories tucked away in the recesses of your mind? What is your bliss?
I discovered mine while I was back home over the weekend. I forgot that jetting from a city on the east coast to your family home in the heart of Texas throws into sharp focus the dichotomous nature of these two locations. And truly, absence did in fact make my heart grow fonder. The instant I was standing barefoot in my backyard, with my dad’s meticulously curated carpet of lush grass tickling my feet, Texas sunshine pinching at my skin, my mom’s wind chimes lazily moving through the thick air while cicadas call out to each other in a cacophony of chirping, I found my bliss. Every single one of my senses was alive with the electricity of memories, emotions, and people that had all been set against this backdrop of Texas and its summers. Being away for so long made this rush of nostalgia more flammable, like a stray firework spark meeting some drought-ridden Texas grass; it’s a recipe for a wildfire.
The perfume of my dad’s freshly mowed lawn, and how dirt smells in the sun while I watched my mom garden. It triggers a kind of serenity in my mind. A serenity of home.
Cicadas and my mama’s wind chimes have been the soundtrack to my youth since before I even had memories. They were my symphony of heat, summer, and concrete burning my feet as I ran home from the neighborhood pool, and late afternoons I spent draped over plastic lawn chairs on our porch hating the boredom but loving the freedom, watching the dusk, hazy with heat, drape its inky scarf over the sunshine. It’s the sound of fresh fruit from the farmer’s market (held every Saturday morning in the parking lot of a football field, the epitome of Texas), and nights I would stay late into the night cutting up Vogues, and Free People catalogs collaging my bedroom walls. It makes me content, those sounds, and incredulous at how fortuitous my life has been.
I love all my adventures to new destinations, with new faces, (and sounds!). But, those sensory experiences in my backyard are my home. They induce a rush of joy so beautiful that it makes me ache when I’m away. A quote by Maya Angelou reminds me that “ache for home lives in all of us.” So, I welcome this twinge of melancholy because it means I have found my happiness, something to miss, full with love, light, and the treasures of my life.