return

detail of wax crayon and collage art journal spread

There’s a choral work that I love called Missa Gaia / Earth Mass. One of the movements in this mass is Return to Gaia, a musical representation of how an astronaut must feel when she gazes at the earth from space. That sense of longing – of love – for a place that looks so small and vulnerable from far away, but is the only real home she’s ever known.

One summer when I was at university, I cooked for a tree-planting camp in Northern Alberta. I had spent my whole life complaining about Southwestern Ontario summers – they were too hot, and too humid. Summer in Northern Alberta was deliciously dry and temperate. But when I stepped off the plane onto the runway in my hometown upon my return – and I was enveloped by a wall of hot, moist air that instantly sprung beads of sweat on my brow – I felt such an incredibly sweet sense of homecoming that took me completely by surprise. This was where I belonged, no matter where else I might travel. This was home.

Do you have a place you return to, that always feels like home? Is returning a happy experience, or a bittersweet one?

Detail from an art journal spread that contains a scrap of a collaged map of London, Ontario. Wax crayon and collage on paper, 2012.