The Slow-Cooked Sentence

Definitions of home

Rachael Conlin Levy

There’s a hole in my home, empty and dark as the mine shaft I climbed down into as a kid. I remember the cool, dry breeze touching my face as I lay on my belly and peeked over the edge. I held out my arm and dropped a rock, listening as it banged and clattered against the wooden scaffolding, falling down, down, down.

Finally, silence.

I inched over the side until my feet touched the wooden ladder and followed my dad and brother into the abandoned shaft. Above me I could hear my mom’s worried voice, and I clung tighter to the wooden rungs and breathed softly, trying to make myself lighter.

Courtesy of Chazz Layne.

HOME (n): 1) A place where you live. 2) A plant or animal’s native habitat. 3) A starting position. (adj.) A place of origin. (adv.) The center or heart of something.

The new hole was blown out when my husband left for Seattle to begin a new job and scout out a new house for our family. The kids wander to its edge, listening to his silence, breathing in the temporary loss of their father. They telephone him, recounting the minutiae of the weekend as they wander from room to room.

When does a house stop being a home?

When a rabbit hole appears and someone falls through it.

Like the White Rabbit, but not like the White Rabbit, I’m talking to myself. Leap and the net will appear. The Zen phrase was mailed to me by a friend who knew life, or at least the next 30 days of it, would turn surreal as school ends, birthdays are celebrated, a marriage begins, a baby is born and movers descend.

I hum Tom Petty lyrics as I paint.

Yeah I’m free, free fallin’

Chaja's joan jett

A poem by my daughter, Chaja, and given to me on Mother’s Day.

I Am From …

I am from books scattered around the house. I am from the rocks, flowers and shells piled on the mantle.

I am from flowers in their brick planters. I am from rabbits in their hutches, and the swing hanging from the tree in our backyard.

I am from making plum jelly in the fall. I am from riding my bike around the block and from walking to school.

I am from the little box that is filled with thoughts, sandstone and sagebrush. I am from the photo albums in the hall.

I am from Mom and Dad, Nana and Opa, and Grandma and Grandpa.

I am from soccer games where I watch you cheer me on. I am from camping on Mount Rose and swimming in Lake Tahoe.

I am from you.

2 responses to “Definitions of home”

  1. Linda says:

    Oh my! What a lovely poem expressing the connections sweet Chaja has to her family and home. She is both blessed and a blessing…she is Chaja. Thank you dear Rachael for sharing your Mother's Day gift with us.

  2. Chaja, you are a beautiful writer..tears are coming down right now.

    Rachael, I hope you had a great mother's day! We're having a fun vacation and thinking of you in Reno.


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