It was good to come home after almost three weeks away. As I walked to the front door I was greeted with the intense aroma of mock orange blossoms. The bushes were just starting to get buds when I left, and I was happy I hadn't missed the full bloom. It's one of the few fragrant flowers I can tolerate, so we planted them outside our bedroom window. Never mind that it's been almost too cool to sleep with the window open the past few nights. I'm happy to add an extra blanket so I can drift off to sleep with a scent that doesn't make me ill.
Exhausted from my trip, I spent the first few days home just trying to catch up on sleep, reading the mail (the snail kind) and enjoying some down time. Finally, today, I awoke with some semblance of energy and desire to get back into the groove of things, back into a routine. But I soon realized that coming home also means climbing back into my hole of social isolation. When I'm in an area with a larger population (which is almost anywhere away from Helena, Montana), there are so many more places to go (like a big farmers' market, an outdoor arts fair, large parks) where I can be with people, yet keep my distance, and be (more or less) safe chemically. These places are interesting and new, unlike the few places I go here (the health food store and Target), which, granted, give me some social interaction, but get pretty boring by the upteenth time I've been there. And granted, all those people in those public outdoor places are strangers. But at least they're people, real live people, not the pretend ones I watch on television or the ones I read about in books.
Then, as I was really feeling sorry for myself this morning, I started going through my other mail (the electronic kind) and catching up on all the blogs I've barely skimmed in the past month. That's when I realized that I do have a social circle, one that goes far beyond the borders of the fourth largest state in the Union. I can't see your faces, but I imagine what you look like, and I can hear your voices in the words that you write. Community is not just a matter of geography, but one of caring and giving and listening and sharing common ground in more ways that the dirt we stand on. So, I'm back. It's good to be home. Thanks for waiting up for me and for leaving the (electronic) light on for me.