Ohio feels like homecoming.

Ohio feels like road tripping, like twelve hours that go by in the blink of an eye — that is, at least, until we get onto 70.  Ohio feels like junk food and fast food and rest stops and philosophical discussions and the views of the valleys as we cut across Pennsylvania.  Ohio feels like telling people that you actually look forward to this, that there are few things you cherish quite like your road trips with your husband, or being with your in-laws for the holidays.

Ohio feels like waking up to crisp air and clear skies, to long and winding roads through wide open spaces.  Ohio feels like towns so small you could hold your breath as you drive from one end to the other.

Ohio feels like sitting around the living room as terrible puns are read off the iPad, like sitting around the kitchen table as effortless banter bounces back and forth.  Ohio feels like inside jokes and meaningful shorthand, a language that simultaneously sprung up from the ground and evolved over time.

Ohio feels like silly rituals.  Eating cheap chili dogs with Tobasco sauce. Visiting a mansion decorated to the nines for Christmas.  Homemade pizzas and a night full of movies. Blueberry pancakes, biscuits with dulce de leche, and shenanigans at a local restaurant.

Ohio feels like Sunday morning church.  Ohio feels like leaning into my husband, my hand in his the way a plane touches down on an aircraft carrier, the music of a full band and a singing congregation filling the room.

Ohio feels like my face surreptitiously to my husband’s ear and his to mine, whispering the backstories of those in attendance.  It feels like my eyes going wide as I start to connect real life people with the characters who keep showing up in the back of my mind, and my husband saying, “You could write volumes based on the people here.”

Ohio feels like Sunday morning hymns, the devotion of a small group of people, the energy that makes my pantheistic heart swell — the reminder that God is here and everywhere and in everything and these expressions of such an entity can be so beautiful and so pure sometimes.

Ohio feels like stillness — like the luxury I rarely afford myself.  Ohio feels like lounging around and lazily making plans, like letting it all move at a slower pace.  Ohio feels like slowing down when the world around me is usually at 100 miles per hour.  Ohio feels like a deluge of written and edited word — a reminder that constantly darting around just makes it harder for your muses to find you, but that the drive to create is constant and real and will demand even in whispers.

Ohio feels like miles of farmland and the serenity it gives. Ohio feels like a reminder that the role of a home is sometimes that of a launching pad — that you can touch down and refuel and then fire back up. Ohio feels like a reminder that this is a place to hang my hat, but eventually I’ll put my hat back on and return from whence I came. Ohio feels like the mountains are calling and I must go. Ohio feels like a proper night’s rest before a new day dawns.

Ohio feels like the type of home I didn’t realize how badly I needed.

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