Where the heart is

Yellowstone in early morning

We drove from Des Moines, Iowa to home yesterday. It took about 11 hours and I’ve never been so glad to escape a vehicle in all my life. There’s something about being locked in a moving car with three kids and a man for endless miles that makes the last 100 or so absolutely unbearable. And no amount of bribery could make my son stop talking. He was wired. I suppose we all were … and then we turned in the lane and relief flooded over me. I’m still flitting around in wonder, 12 hours later.

Our vacation was magnificent. We’ve never been away for longer than six days at a time, so this 13-day adventure was quite a commitment. It was a drive of a lifetime, something we’ll treasure forever. And now I am so happy to be nestled, once again, in this place we call home — even though the views may not be as grand here on our patch of dirt.

Hebgen Lake in early morning

I didn’t awaken to mist rising off the water into a pink and purple sky … but the kitty-cat was scratching and meowing at the door, the hens were cackling their morning egg-laying lullaby and the birds were carrying on because the other cat was sitting under their tree. The horses were already swishing their tails at early-morning flies. The sun was shining through the slats in the barn and the whole place was glowing with midsummer Ohio morning light.

I missed home.

In the midst of towering lodgepole pine trees, purple mountains majesty and wildlife galore, a tiny part of me was still stuck at home. I didn’t realize it at the time, of course. I was caught up in the splendor of Montana and Wyoming, the rugged plains of South Dakota, the hills of Nebraska and the cornfields of Iowa.

Hebgen Lake mist

And then we arrived at our house and I saw that the lettuce was flourishing, the lawn needs a mowing (badly!), and there are cobwebs in every corner of the living room. The place had a dusty, musty smell because it’s been missing its heart and soul. So we threw open the windows and let in the fresh, humid air. Kids ran to say hello to animals and my husband carried in suitcases while I fixed up a pot of chicken noodle soup. It just seemed appropriate.

I noticed the feel of the kitchen tile under my bare feet. I reveled in the familiarity of grabbing a knife, slicing carrots and parsley. I watered plants, played a few notes on the piano, started a load of laundry and — because I couldn’t help it — threw myself onto my very own bed for just a moment.

It’s good to go away and come home again. 

Fresh perspective is a wonderful thing. Longing breeds enthusiasm, patience and new points of view. And as a friend commented on a facebook photo I posted as we drove in …

Tuckaway Farm

Home is the best view of all!


(But stay tuned for a few more road trip installments … I have yet to show you Virginia City, the Battle of Little Bighorn Monument and Mount Rushmore!)



Go exploring! You may enjoy these previous posts.


  • comment-avatar
    Aunt Mary Ann July 3, 2013 (10:17 am)

    There’s no place like home………(Welcome back..)

  • comment-avatar
    Vicki July 3, 2013 (7:04 pm)

    Welcome home Jennifer and family. Keep posting pictures and stories.
    And , would love to get together and catch up.

    • comment-avatar
      Jennifer Kiko July 3, 2013 (10:19 pm)

      Thanks so much, Vicki! And I would love to get together soon. Give me a call or text!

  • comment-avatar
    Melissa Wells July 3, 2013 (9:14 pm)

    Loved sharing the trip with you all! Also glad the “ol vehicle survived!

    • comment-avatar
      Jennifer Kiko July 3, 2013 (10:19 pm)

      Thanks! Ol’ NellieBelle (I call all my vehicles by that name) survived the trip with flying colors. She did so well I may have to keep her to the wheels rust off! 🙂