08/29/2012 01:47 pm ET Updated Oct 29, 2012

Being at Home

It's the air. This mixture of sweet and salt. The salty sea and fresh water ponds on Cape Cod meld into air like no other. I've already decided that I want my ashes spread there near the high dunes in Truro to mix with the air and the water, imagining that is where I will continue to breathe breaths that are naturally deep and restful. The sun is warm, the water cool, the sand just right for walking and nobody around; it's quiet. Very quiet. Quiet enough to sit on the teak lounge chair turned grey with weathering, softened by yellow striped cushions made to fit, no matter what position I choose -- lying down to bathe in the sun or sitting up slightly to write my thoughts. There is not much going on in my mind when I'm there on the Cape, sitting on the porch and looking out far enough to see Provincetown on the right and whaling boats in the bay I sleep a sleep I hardly remember sleeping. It's a sleep from years ago -- decades really. My body settles into repose and energy to do something is out of reach. I have Just enough for getting the fresh lobster, grazing the fridge, maybe making some toast and coffee for the family. Not much more.

For many years after the divorce, I rented a house for one week before the high season so we could assemble to be together -- the children with each other, the children with Mom. It wasn't easy. Sometimes it wasn't nice. Playing hearts at night was fun, but often so competitive that bad losers became worse. But it was our time. Time to edge up against each other. Time to live together again. Time to wake up to each other today and tomorrow and tomorrow until the week is over and we pack up to leave and go our separate ways once again. I expected, as a Mom, to be the Mom I always thought I was. The cooking Mom, the competent Mom, the neat Mom, the in-charge Mom, the shopping-for-food Mom. None of which came to pass. Days would flow. Turns would be taken. Grazing was everybody's favorite way to eat until dinner. And I would turn to mush. Exhausted. Even a bike ride seemed more than I could handle. And so it went for years. Sometimes friends, lovers, husbands, would come. Sometimes not. Everyone grew older. Laptops multiplied. Everyone would rest and do their own thing.

I felt at home. Though it was never the same house, never the same view, never the same moment, I felt at home. Me with my three kittens, salty-sweet air, changeable water, winds which came and went, pillows which belonged to strangers, unfamiliar dishes, interiors which were usually stuff I hate -- lamps made to look like ships, shells clearly bought and shined, driftwood made into furniture, pictures of boats and fish and overly colorful sunsets. It didn't matter. I could breathe. I could sleep. I could be. And inhale that air which is air like none other.

The last time we went was five years ago with grandchildren in tow. Not quite as restful but reminding me, as I write this, it's time to return.