Finding Home(r)

Have you ever taken a first step in a place that feels like you’ve lived there forever?  That is Homer for me. Irony at it’s best. Desert rat meets breathtaking views, rugged mountains, sparkling ocean and falls in love. There’s something about the light; the way it plays off the glaciers and water; it is visually beautiful. Some call September “Rainbow season”. It is a parallel home on vastly different latitude line from where I have been living.

It’s a beautiful place, the Kenai Peninsula and Kachemak Bay. The sea is unbelievably rich with life, the landscape breathtaking. The weather in September is like the fall down south. Cool, colorful, changing moment by moment. Opportunity for adventure hangs in the air like the intoxicating scent of jasmine after the rain. Kayaking, hiking, feasting on the bounty of the hills and the sea. Gathering and packaging blueberries, raspberries, mushrooms, and salmon. Even though I knew I would not be in Homer the winter, I felt the pressure of the waning sunshine to harvest and stow before it was too late. There is something compelling about Homer for me, but I can’t quite put my finger on what it is.

My brother from another mother, Sean, toured me over the hills, through the valley sand down the beaches. Together, Hilda, Sean and I ate succulent local food, drank delicious wine, laughed and told stories long into the evening. Coffee and stunning views greeted me each morning. I shared walks, weekend adventures and sampled local restaurants with my dear friend, Donna. It is heartwarming to pick up a friendship as if there was no 30 year gap. I met many locals who greeted me with a sincerity of warmth and acceptance that I have rarely experience in the lower 48. These folks are what true friendship is all about.

As I reflected on a conversation with a new acquaintance it hit me like a ton of bricks. His words wafted into my ear, my eyes involuntarily teared up. “I knew your Dad. He was the math guy, right?” My Dad has been dead for going on 13 years. It is astounding to me that almost 6500 miles away from the place of my birth, where my Dad spent the majority of his life, I found someone that knew him well. What are the odds? Homer is one of those places. There is a sense of the familiar, a timeless connection. After being here only three short weeks, I am beginning to question faces in the crowd; do I know him? I will return…

Fast forward two years, and here I am, living my dream in Homer. I am the director of an organization that’s mission has been embedded in my heart for my entire adult life. I am living the lifestyle I dreamed about for decades, next to the ocean, growing my own food, dancing with equally passionate dancers, cultivating authentic and deep friendships. It is everything I could have hoped for and so much more. Homer is truly the destination my entire life has been pointed toward.