I’m home in Kentucky. Although I’ve lived elsewhere for more of my life, I spent the first 17 years in Ballard County, and I guess it will always be “home.”
Tonight when I got off the interstate and headed toward Cairo, Illinois, the air became thick with fog. I realized that it’s always then that I feel at home – when the air is filled with moisture from the rivers. It has nothing to do with state lines, which are in close proximity here, but it is all about the air.
The air is heavy and rich and visible. You breathe it in and your lungs feel full, as if they’re being fed. We breathe in the rivers – literally – it nourishes our lungs, our bodies, our souls.
I’m not sure I’ll ever feel at home in a place where the air is dry. Where instead of giving you moisture, it’s trying to suck it out of your body. Where your skin and lips and hands are cracked and parched because the very air is taking your body’s moisture from you.
I love the feeling of the moist air, surrounding me and everything else. It doesn’t part when we approach, we’re simply able to meld with it and become one. It envelopes us in the rivers from the safety of dry land.
I stopped at the confluence, as I always do. It was very quiet tonight with no boats docked nearby, which is very unusual. The stars were brilliant, and I could hear the water lapping at the edge of the bank. And, in the distance, the distinctive sound of tug boats, a given in this area.
When I drove across the bridge I did so with all the windows rolled down to get the full effect. I always do that, unless it’s pouring rain. But, a little rain I don’t mind and snow I relish. Tonight is clear and cool. And wet.
I have breathed in the rivers, tiny droplets at a time. I am nourished.