Exactly four weeks ago, I swung the door to my beach house (and my life) in Maui firmly shut, boarded a plane, and scrunched my face against the tiny window to watch the twinkling lights of paradise fade into the distance.

Blue Ridge Mountains Autumn-4

Since shutting that door, I’ve gypsied through 10 states and 8612 miles, hiked 35 miles through fire-swirled mountains, fallen in love with a tiny, magic & moon-scented 6-lb wonder named Honey Sue (my new niece,) celebrated sunsets over Lake Michigan, the Atlantic ocean, colorful mountains, and crunchy cornfields, obtained another tiny car (a little lava-colored adventurer named Pele) and taken a two-week roadtrip through the fiery wardrobe of Autumn, reconnected with forever friends – the kind who’s depth and value is unchanged by huge gaps in distance or communication, taken my heart back to a few of its once-upon-a-time homes, adopted two remarkably furry kittens, frozen my toes in the startlingly dirty Atlantic ocean, and…finally…stopped wrestling with the decision of the location of my next home, making peace with the part of my heart that has been softly but incessantly pulling me back toward home.

Honey Sue-2

Honey Sue, a tiny bundle of everything good and magical in the world… I am absolutely in love with my first niece.

The tug toward family and my roots has been a gentle stirring — a whispering — over the last few months that has been, for the most part, overpowered by the roaring of the pull toward adventure and sun and islands and the kind of wildness that snatches your breath away and keeps you so distracted with new peaks to climb that there’s little time to be aware of any other pulls or yearnings or whisperings. But it’s gradually gotten more stubborn and insistent, and when I held little Honey Sue for the first time and gazed into those curious newborn eyes, full of a mixture of infinite wisdom and absolute innocence, that whispering finally stepped up and demanded that I pay attention.

Blue Ridge Mountains Autumn-3

Rambling through the color-draped mountains along the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of my favorite ‘Wilds’ to escape to on the mainland.

So here I am, returning to the cornfields, snowfalls, howling winds, and cozy, well-worn traditions of my childhood to embark on an entirely new sort of adventure that, admittedly, has me terrified.

To help ease that terror, I’m being very careful of my wording: I’m not moving to Indiana. I’m vacationing in Indiana. Right at that time of year when the sun is preparing to take its own vacation, and an incomprehensibly cold, dreary, colorless, gray blanket of silence is about to descend over the land. I’m vacationing. In that. This is definitely gonna be an adventure.

But now that I’ve made the decision to be here, I’m on a mission to find the beautiful, colorful, cozy, musical, and delightful aspects of a Midwestern winter, and to not let that stubborn, grouchy part of my self that is very determined in its belief that there is nothing beautiful, non-miserable, or even remotely bearable about a winter in Indiana win out. If you’re a Midwesterner with any tips for this, I’d love to hear them 😉

“Don’t move the way fear makes you move. Move the way love makes you move. Move the way joy makes you move.” -Osho

Honey Sue-1

I think that every single thing expressed in this photo is a pretty good summary of what I left Maui for.