At Home in Ohio: Spring 2015

I head to my home state of Ohio a few times a year. I go back to see my beloved family, I go back to stay at the farm where I grew up, but mostly I go back because I have to: it is home.

Home can exist as a state of mind, it’s true, but home as an actual physical place has a stronger claim on a person than any abstract notion ever could. This doesn’t even have to mean that your home is a place you even necessarily want to be, but it is still a place, not just an idea. A place that exists in a specific spot on the planet — one that is unlike any other for you, utterly familiar no matter how long it’s been since you’ve been there. That’s how the farm is in Ohio for me. And not just for me; it’s the same for a lot of people in my extended family, scattered across the continent and the globe. We all converge in this particular spot any chance we get. It’s not that our farm is particularly amazing, though it has plenty of amazing elements, it is that it is ours. When I’m there, I think about my grandpa, who died in 2006, the year my oldest son was born. Just as my grandpa no doubt thought about his grandparents every time he was back on the same farm, their farm, long after they had passed away.

Spring came while I was in Ohio for this last visit. We celebrated Easter and mourned the dead and dying Ash trees that cover the property, the work of an invasive species which showed up  in 2002 and has managed to kill millions of trees in little more than a decade. Death and life, as always, go hand-in-hand and even as dead ash trees are cut out of the landscape, the tiny seedlings my sister planted in anticipation of summer sprang from the dirt and cheered us all up each time we walked past this little field of green.

The days are getting longer, long enough for the kids to run around outside to the point of exhaustion, but not so long that there isn’t time for adults to sit around in front of a fire in the wood burning stove on my mom’s porch, hot tea taking the chill off a late evening in spring, at home in Ohio.

Making Music with the Family

A few weeks ago my brother, who is a songwriter and musician, and my niece and nephews, who have a band and play with my brother for as many of his gigs as they can, stayed at our house for a week while they did some recording and made a few stops on their Northeast mini-tour in support of their new album Blinded Again. The band crammed in a lot on this early spring visit: a supper around the fire out in the woods (cold. so very cold), a few beach walks, trips to Boston and lots and lots of music-making. Our living room was stuffed with instrument cases and instruments: a cello, fiddle, a couple of guitars, a couple of banjos, a mandolin and more covered every available surface. It was a great and crowded week, and we missed them as soon as they pulled out of the driveway. I can tell I’m getting older because I kept wanting to ruffle their hair and hug them and talk about how “special” it was to have them all staying with us. And I wanted to bake them cookies and extra food to take with them on their various excursions out of the house, though I didn’t do too much of the latter. I was too tired from all the excitement. Which is further confirmation that I am getting old.

If you like indie-folk, traditional Americana style music, check out their music:

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The band, looking cool in every sense of the word.