Do you find yourself taking an unexpected pause during your daily travels? For unexplained reasons you stop to consider a feeling or emotion, even a memory that has suddenly hit you?
Consider three scenarios. The first, you take a walk, a hike maybe, along a dirt path through a forest preserve where there is an abundance of trees and other foliage. You look in the distance and see a tree, standing bigger than the others. You stop and take inventory of its large, stately trunk, maze of limbs and a full canopy of leaves. You immediately feel protected.
The next scenario, you walk into a restaurant, a bakery, maybe a friend’s house and you encounter a sugary, kind of cinnamony sweet smell in the air. The deeper you breathe the welcoming scent, the more you are comforted.
And last, you sit on a bus, train, the subway, and you strike up a conversation with someone sitting next to you. You realize how you two click because of the familiarity you are feeling by being with her.
These scenarios illustrate how we can connect to a good place to be, to home.
That tree you saw in the distance? You stopped to take a look at it because it reminds you of the trees that grew in the parkway in the neighborhood where you grew up. You remember their size and how their canopied structure protected you. You think how home is protection.
The sweet smell in the air? That reminds you of the sweets that your mom baked for you when you were a child, ready for you when you came home from school. The smells and scents are connections, triggers that comfort you. Home is comforting.
And the person you sat next to? She reminds you of your best friend growing up from home. Home is the familiar.
In my forthcoming memoir, Under the Birch Tree, due out June 19, I write of the many connections I discover to find home, my place to be along my journey of self-discovery.
And it all started with a birch tree growing in the corner of my front yard, near the front door and walkway. When I was a young girl growing up in a red brick house I greeted this tree when leaving the house and when returning. I was captivated by its peeling white bark, looking like paper curls, and its shiny wavy leaves that wiggled in breezes. I looked at this birch tree as my buddy, by first learned connection, synonymous with home.
Until one day something happens under the birch tree that becomes a foreshadowing of disconnections to follow.
But I would always find my place to be no matter where I went. A birch tree sighting when I was among the unfamiliar would tell me I was in the right place and that I could find protection, comfort and familiarity. I could always find home.
My journey of self-discovery unfolds with narration in three voices: my young self, teenage years, and then adulthood. Each voice places you with me through the decades to see how you, too, can find your connections.
The next time you find yourself in a new scenario, discover your connections of protection, security and the familiar to find your place to be, your home.
Under the Birch Tree is now available for preorder: