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My Turtle House

27 June 2012

I sit outside to read in the hopes that I can gather up enough rays of sun to last through next week when the newspaper predicts the return of the rain from its sommerferie (apparently spent in Oslo).

I let my papers fall to my lap and close my eyes, though the sun still shines white through my eyelids. An out-of-sync tune is hammered out by birds overhead, a lawnmower purrs away down the street.

Without even a thought to take me there, I am suddenly lying on a beach towel on the wide green lawn at the house on Pheasant Run (where I did some of my growing up). The sound of our lawnmower approaches and then leaves again as my dad walks in neat diagonal stripes. I am lying so still that a squirrel dares to come within a foot of my blanket. I am the first to be frightened, and the sudden flick of my legs sends the squirrel sprinting.

It occurs to me that I haven’t stored my memories dutifully like the events in my diary, nor can I string them out into a straight line like the days on the calendar. They follow their own system of organization, determined not by when but by where. Where was I then? (And the answer unlocks a room so large I that I can live in it for a good long while.)

I have transported this network of memories with me through Costa Rica, Tunisia, Singapore, England, Canada . . . borne on my back like a turtle’s shell that I’ve dragged along with slow, thick legs. And with a turtle’s obstinacy, I remain oblivious to the fact that this “home” I’m always looking for isn’t where I’m headed, but just there, right behind me.


6 Comments leave one →
  1. 27 June 2012 14:23

    Pheasant Run!!! Ahhh….that takes me back to the times of swim team, Memorial Park, Duran Duran, our trip to Spain, and telling people that we were really sisters. (But our parents were married to other people now…) Here’s to the memories…

  2. Teresa Owens permalink
    27 June 2012 17:17

    Jena, that was just gorgeous. Thanks for that.

  3. 6 July 2012 19:49

    I love this. I like to think I already carry what’s most important inside of me. Part of “home” never go away no matter how far I travel or how many houses I live in.

  4. Michele permalink
    8 July 2012 16:00

    I can so relate to this! My memories also seem to be filed by a “where” system of retrieval, and that helps me remember “when.” And, of course, the only thing all of those places have in common is me. So it just goes to show, no matter where you go….. 🙂

    I’ve spent some time today catching up on your blog posts and must tell you how much your writing inspires me to think. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to comment in a timely manner on your interesting post about multiculturalism, and hope you’ll tackle that immense subject again here. Ignore anyone who accused you of exploiting the matter and trust that you are right in recognizing it’s something that should be discussed openly and often in a respectful, intelligent way.

  5. 9 July 2012 11:16

    Lovely written …..

  6. Goodness and Grit permalink
    20 July 2012 12:11


    Funny thing is, while in Spain thawing out last week, I had a similar nostalgic moment. Eyes closed, body relaxing under the sun, and like an old favorite song takes you back, the sun transported me to sunbathing as a teenager home in the yard….for a split second I was 15 again…..

    Hope you are having a wonderful summer!

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