After spending three months in Vermont, it is good to be back home in Georgia. When we drove into our place, forsythias were blooming, redbuds and dogwoods were opening, and our azalea’s looked ready to pop.
I walked around our property. We missed the time to apply pre-emergent herbicide. Everything was growing, and I wondered if the mower would start. Our butterfly bushes were left unattended last fall and now they look really ragged. More work.
I sat on the back deck with a cup of coffee and looked over our woods, bushes, firewood pile and shed. Need to clean out the shed—it needed it last fall and it still needs it. A little stress begins creeping into life.
Going to Vermont for three months gave us a feeling of starting over: new people, new activities, new places, new weather. Vermont glistened in snow and ice, offering astounding beauty at every turn. Our world filled with hope and possibility. We were temporary in Vermont, and we didn’t worry about obligations or expectations.
Geese flew overhead, like they did in Vermont.
Now at home, life was returning to known patterns. We talked on the phone to a relative who is middle-age and having a hard time finding work. He gets frustrated and he is prone to rule out good opportunities for thin reasons.
I went to lunch at a favorite restaurant with an old friend. My friend brought me up to date on Georgia’s winter, and he talked about his upcoming trip to Africa. He was excited.
We hear about health changes. Two friends are facing major surgery, and they and their families worry. We study the calendar with upcoming doctors’ appointments; an email arrives about a meeting; I download a tax program and begin assembling data.
Coming home brings us back to people and things that invite involvement. Many of the terms of these engagements are set. We know our friends, their strengths and kindnesses, but also their shortcomings and sorrows. There is a large part of life at home that is fixed. And there is all the work that needs to be done.
Still, we can find hope in Georgia. Spring offers renewal and our friends offer community. I find it natural to look forward to the activities of ordinary life like trimming bushes or organizing the shed even if they tend to embody responsibility. And even though old friends sometimes need commitment, there is hope in the prospect of ever deepening relationships.
We went back to our church on Sunday. Our priest spoke of the apostles’ experiences with a returned Christ, Thomas’s doubting, and their commitment to vocation.
Coming home calls us back to our commitments.
A series of photographs follow. They illustrate, perhaps whimsically, the beauty and limitations of Vermont and Georgia. We were lucky to see Vermont in winter, and we are fortunate to be in Georgia for spring.
WINTER IN GEORGIA AND VERMONT
SPRING IN VERMONT AND GEORGIA