I love this quote from Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings "Cross Creek". Her home, where she wrote the books "The Yearling" and "Cross Creek" is now a state park and is not far from where my Mother now lives in Central Florida. I like to visit there when I am up that way. The cracker style house is still there, sitting up on cinder block stilts just like the home I was raised in.  There’s something about being there that evokes so many memories in me.

"..Step inside the rusty gate and close it behind. One is now inside the orange grove. Out of one world and in the mysterious heart of another..."

The smell of the little wooden house, the earth beneath it eking it’s way in through the floorboards. The woods surrounding it and the black moist earth that feels cool beneath my bare feet, the sound of the cicada in the pines trilling loudly, almost deafening in the silent dank of the Florida forest. The perfume of citrus trees and a delicious smell of the deepest green (ask a Florida native about this one.) When I visit Cross Creek I am transported back to childhood days in my homeland. I moved away as a young adult, wanting to see something different, new landscapes, other cultures. I left, I saw, and my heart never once stopped yearning for Florida, for HOME.

Yesterday, I heard a song I love that resonates with me about my homeland..it’s by Kings of Leon the chorus says;

 “It’s in the water, it’s in the story, it’s where you came from. The sons and daughters in all their glory, it’s gonna shape them, It’s where you came from, where you came from" 

I finagled funds every year to bring my children to my home state, to know their southern family, to experience the culture here. They played on the property at my Aunts home out in the country and swam in the lakes, inner tubed the Itchetucknee and spent days at the beach. I wanted this land to be part of them too.

SIX years ago this month, we began our attempts at purchasing this little house, back here in my home state. Initially, I was not a fan of this place. “It’s too far from my kids, there’s no cultural stuff there, it’s kinda ‘po-dunk’ “ are all of the protests I waged with Mr. Wonderful against moving here. But the price was SO incredibly right and I could have a yard to landscape and Mr. W. could have a garage to tinker in. Eventually we got it and the hard work began. I have had frustrations with the distance from the kids and the lack of events that I like to attend, but in all, over time this has become HOME. Together we have transformed what was someone’s cast off, a home left vacant for two years, sadly neglected and unloved, into our “Little Yellow House” with crazy Feng Shui, which we like to call "FUNKY SHWAAY" and too much landscaping (i got carried away!) A home away from home for others, a place for celebrations, a place we can grow old together. As usual, Mr.Wonderful has lived up to his original name of “Mr. Right”. Right again sir and well done!

I am back home in Florida. The land where my Grandmother and her siblings relocated to from South Georgia so very long ago. It was here that my Mother was born and raised, and where she gave birth to me and raised me in that little pink house that sat up on the cinder blocks, where the neighbors hunting dogs slept in the coolness, and my childhood friends and I built forts in the woods that Marjorie spoke of...I am HOME.

"After long years of spiritual homelessness, of nostalgia, here is that mystic loveliness of childhood again, HERE IS HOME."  Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Cross Creek



 “..If you wanna go, I’m a gonna go, Come on take my hand, I’m goin' back down south now…” Kings of Leon, BACK DOWN SOUTH