Last week we sold our house in West Virginia. Although we’ve lived just across the river in Ohio for a year now, that link to my native state (born and lived there all my life) was tangible evidence of the place I call home. As long as it was mine, I was anchored.
At 3 p.m. last Monday, I could no longer call myself a West Virginian. I’m an Ohioan and, yes, that smarted a bit more than I’d have expected.
Today we re-mulched the front of the only house we now own, which set me to re-arranging a few decorative rocks. As I stooped to nestle them into their rich, new habitat, I was struck by how this new attention to our Ohio home seems to mark something in my life: my acceptance of living a few scant miles from my homeland. That thought quickly brought me to another — being a stranger in a strange land.
I looked down at the rocks in my hands. The building blocks of an Inuksuit — pronounced in-ook-shook. These stone monuments dot the landscape throughout the arctic. One of their purposes was to communicate direction in the harsh and desolate Arctic. Settling in here, a mere 6 miles from where I grew up, has been a bit of a trip through a desolate region.
So I’m grateful tonight for my tiny Inuksuit, built with rocks snagged from a foreign shore and now residing in my front landscape. No one will see it, but to me it marks a direction: forward.
And I’m good with where I am, because I’m not really an Ohioan. I’m from West Virginia, currently living in Ohio. And that’s OK. I have an Inuksuit to prove it.