For most of my life, moving from place to place has been the norm. I grew up in the years when rural Baptist pastors moved every three years or so, and my father was no exception. Then I married, expecting to spend the rest of my life in the little community of Furrs about ten miles from Tupelo, MS, perhaps best known outside the region for being the birthplace of Elvis Presley. Four years later, my husband was drafted. In this case, the Army put a square peg in a square hole, and a whole career ensued with more moves than Baptist preachers.
Looking back, I wouldn’t trade either section of my life for one more stable, but I often found it hard to uproot and start over. I liked the place and the people I was leaving.
When I read the book Sarah, Plain and Tall, Sarah put words to my feelings. Anna, the narrator, worries that her prospective stepmother will decide to return to her family in Maine. She’s afraid Sarah misses her home and family too much out on the prairie with little company besides the two children and their father until she overhears a conversation between Sarah and her new friend Maggie. Sarah wisely says, “There is always something to miss, no matter where you are.”
I thought about that last week as I was reminded of something I missed (besides the people) in our last home in Leesville, LA near Ft. Polk where we spent nineteen years, the longest stay of our marriage. Al retired from the Army after our first five years there to work in the post office so I could finally keep a job I loved in a community that felt like home.
Our Leesville yard was a stopping ground for a band of indigo buntings that traveled through every year. One year I went so far as to write a haiku about them.
Feasting in the yard
An indigo bunting crowd
Sprinkled with cardinals
For the almost fifteen years we have been here, I’ve missed them in the spring. The indigo buntings are also transients, on their way to somewhere else. Last week, a miracle happened, and a flock found my yard again. A few days later, they were on their way. I enjoyed the respite, complete with cardinals who stay year round and consider this their permanent home. I hope the travelers spread the word that gourmet food is served at the Butler Bunting Inn with an easy on and off exit for buntings on the move. As for me, I plan to be right here where my roots are growing deep, waiting for their return.