The chai has brewed and scented the house with milky cloves. Outside the chickens have run out into the garden, gleeful in their escape, and in my hand I hold three warm, fresh eggs. Eggs from chickens so well loved that it turns the yolks golden.
The hills of this Wheatbelt town are so dry and bare after a heartbreaking year of drought, but the main street is still tarted up for Christmas with decorations and lights. Santa and his reindeer look unconvinced by the fake snow against a barren landscape sun faded into yellows, browns and reds.
All of it is so beautifully familiar. After just three years, it is so layered in memory, quilted by emotion, that it wraps itself around me with such depth and texture, warmth and comfort. This town has been home to me. Its grabbed my heart, grounded my restless feet, and stuck my hands in dirt. Its had me digging, and planting, and enjoying the fruit that has ripened- sometimes from toil, tears and sheer passion, and other times, like a mystery bulb left over from the year before. Unexpected, unworked for, and full of grace.
I've fallen apart in this town. Been thoroughly shattered, and woven back together by moments and places and people. I've sung on the theatre's stage with the 4 generations of town locals. I've dabbled in ball sports and rebounded off football players. I've discovered the joy of growing potatoes, and digging up their fresh, delicious goodness so magically produced by the earth. Hours have been passed drinking tea, reading the newspaper, and watching the chickens roam, peck, and scratch. I've ducked quickly around corners to avoid patients in the supermarket, had awkward conversations about medical issues in public forums, and ultimately accepted there is nowhere to hide.
So I have failed to hide, and instead revelled in the joy of not hiding. This town has greedily asked for all of me. I have poured it out. The lines are so blurred now, between working and not, social and professional, giving and receiving. Its all the same people. And all of its me. Working, living, seeking to help others and being given to so fully and surprisingly in return. I gather all the bits of me up, and take it into each moment. I celebrate the fullness, the coherence, with which I can live.
A whisper inside of me that sees the passing of the seasons and calls me away from this home.
The world opens up before me and my Heart delights, and wonders, and hopes, and dreams.
I take the memory, curl it warm in my hands, and place it in my Heart. This home. This home. This one, I shall take with me.