Creative photos and essays from the San Juan Islands

Home is where the heart is…


Home is where the heart is, or so the old saw goes.   I recently read in Ralph Friedman’s “A Touch of Oregon” where he interviewed the last remaining non-resident of what is now a ghost town in far eastern Oregon.   ‘Non-resident’ because Westfall had not a single occupant, not even Mrs. Looney the post-mistress, who lived out of town.  Her post office served a few remaining ranchers in the vicinity, but all townspeople, and indeed all the buildings besides the post office, had gone the way of the tumbleweeds leaving a barren, sun-baked plain.   “I like it here,” she said.  “It’s just home to me…because I’ve lived here so long.   Sometimes,” she added pensively,  “I wonder why I like it.   It’s so hot and dry and dusty.  But it’s home.”

I’m tempted to infer a connection between the desolate terrain and the post-mistress’s name.    But that aside, “HOME,” it seems to me, becomes a recipe…with our hearts and time as the ingredients, and the memories of the past and dreams of the future the fruition we recall or long for.   Memories are the tangible ingredient, made up of the people we’ve known and loved, the experiences we’ve reveled in or simply survived, and these memories become the gluten that binds us to a place, while dreams are the validation of our faith in more to come

Such is my relationship with the San Juan Islands.  The photo above records just the latest in my home places.   In my nearly 44 years here I’ve lived in mobile homes, rental houses, borrowed houses, in the out-islands, Assisted Living quarters as a caregiver, aboard boats (my favorite), and now as a  newlywed in a beautiful house on the hill with the view portrayed above.   I have a partner who shares my dreams…I’ve come home.


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