Home means very different things to different people. Now that’s a trite statement if ever there was one—but important to say before I launch into what that seemingly innocuous but really heavy-laden four-letter word means to me. I’ve declared my spiritual, home as everyone who’s ever seen this blog knows, to be Neset Camping in Setesdal Valley, Norway. My birth and forever-after—my history and geography—Northern Minnesota. My son Steven went up to visit his Minnesota last week, to hang out with his uncle and visit the land he and his brother now share. Where I grew up. I missed my annual check-in in this year…but I did manage a few days at Neset Camping.
In lieu of Minnesota time, I went with my friend to visit her home near Montrose, Colorado. Her mom and sister were there for some summer time, doing maintenance chores around the farm and research for the dad’s professional history. This farm is where the family spent most of their time in the years the girls were growing up. I loved every minute and image of our time there; that farm has the feeling of my home, only the more established Americana version of it. To me there existed the sense of a place when a bit of geography has been occupied by the same people for a long time; there’s a rich layering of stories and weather and pets and friends and food at one’s fingertips. My friend’s father and mother both have long and proud histories going back far into U.S. history which I imagine like an old movie reel unspooling in the background without sound—which must be the first intriguing layer.
Meanwhile the day is bright in this wide-open valley surrounded by hills and lodged between grand mountain ranges. Cars race by, a rainstorm moves closer, the little towns with dog-friendly restaurants and legal weed are near enough for groceries and far enough so this is pure un-suburbanized farm land. The grapes, Concord I think, with that sweet and juicy pulp and tart skin, are ripe and, honestly, I just wanted to stay for a year or two.