The Art of Coming Home
Photo Credit: Theresa Power There's something in the air in Branch this evening and I can't quite name it. Fullness. Joy. Love. Appreciation. The familiar Fall song rustling the alders. All of these descriptors speak of a plump and happy heart. A plump and happy Branch. Branch is a place. That's a simple enough concept. It's a community, an amalgam of houses and people and boats and animals and ideas, all surrounded and informed by that ever present expanse of St. Mary's Bay. Yet sometimes I imagine Branch not as a place but as a person, a kind, colourful, resilient, confident jack of all trades. The kind of fella who shows up at your house just after supper every evening wearing rubbers (because he's either been out fishing that morning or on the flats shearing sheep or just because he wants to wear rubbers) and a perfectly ironed dress shirt (because that's just who he is). He's a lesson in paradox. Plain. Grand. Humorous. Thoughtful. Worldly. Rooted. And all of the in betweens that fall into the cracks of those boxy adjectives. And on this evening only days after Come Home Year has come to a close, Branch is as happy as he has ever been. He's hosted a reunion and welcomed his family and friends home from places as close as the Gut and as far as the United States. For four glorious sunny days, people gathered in every corner, generously sending out love to Branch, all united by the common thread of belonging. As people reconnected, at dances ( as Branch's own musical talent took the stage), over breakfast, at supper, on decks, on beaches; they spoke unabashedly of their love for their community, whether they were visiting or still living here.
While the celebrations have ended, they have left me thinking about what a Come Home Year does for a rural community. We know the obvious benefits. It creates a forum for people to reconnect, to reminisce, to reestablish a sense of home within themselves regardless of where they now live. But there are other by products of Come Home Year that get less attention. Come Home Year becomes Stay Home Year. And so I bring you to the heart of Branch. Many of you may have noticed this week that land has been cleared by Shawn (McGrath) and Jennifer And Rodney Nash, close to the Church, offering a marvellous view of the bay, the flats and the place all at once. This is a noteworthy event. While Branch has readily allowed its limbs to be extended as new homes have been built on the hill, out the road, in the Wester Cove and in the Easter Cove, his heart had remained contrite, until now. Until Shawn and Jennifer and Rodney. With the breaking of ground in the heart of Branch, a new window has opened allowing for a new beginning in an old place. And it happened during Come Home Year. A Come Home Year that was organized by five people! That fact can't go unnoticed . With that type of skill, creativity and efficiency present in large organizations, we'd never have to worry about extended deadlines and budget over runs. You have made Branch and it's crowd very proud committee members and your helpers. Thank you thank you thank you. As we all return to our routines this week, I hope we can all hold a piece of Branch in the part of ourselves that's reserved only for the most joyful of memories of home. For those of us who are here to stay, put your hands up and thank God. For those who will wander back to homes elsewhere in this big world, bring with you the words of Oriah Mountain Dreamer "Home is not only the place that you remember but the place that remembers you".