Come Monday morning, I head down the magic rabbit hole between my home in a house on the prairie in Kansas to my home in a dorm room in Vermont. I’ve been doing this for 17 years, twice a year or more readying myself to roll east, via a car ride to the airport, two plane rides with layover hopefully long enough to eat lunch while not running through an airport, and taxi ride to campus. As usual, when I pack, my animals gather ’round, telling me with their don’t-leave-me animal eyes that I shouldn’t leave them. They often sleep next to or on top of suitcases, piles of clothes or books heading east, letting out mournful cries when I reposition them.
In the week before I go and week after I get back, I feel as if I’m in both places at once, and I have trouble upon waking each morning distinguishing whether I’m dreaming Kansas in Vermont or dreaming Vermont in Kansas. It’s a bittersweet sensation, and crazily enough, I tend to worry about missing one place while in the other place while I’m still in the one place I’ll be leaving soon. Yet I think this kind of ludicrous, pre-emptive longing is part and parcel of finding home in
more than one place.
At the same time, I carry each place in me no matter where I am. I am a Kansan who happens to live in Vermont for 10-12 days two or more times each year. I have a rich and beautiful life in both places, and thanks to phone calls, skype, email, facebook and more, I’m in touch with the people from both lives all in a day’s work.
So I sit here in Kansas with Vermont in my pocket, readying for doing the opposite when I emerge from that rabbi hole come Monday afternoon. Then I will remind myself, like I always do, that it’s the same sky holding together my real and dream lives.