Most people hold their home place dear to their heart. I know I do. I have heard the saying: “Home is where the heart is.” I suppose that is true to an extent. Though, my heart has been many places. Yet, only one place feels like home.
When, we are driving up the curvy country road, as soon as the mountains are in sight my heart begins to pound. It is as if I’m seeing it for the first time. When I get out of the car and take in the fresh air and look around at the vast natural forests and open spaces, I feel like I’m home. Listening to the people’s slow southern drawl and hillbilly slang put me at ease. I soak up every minute that I can of the place.
As we leave, I can’t help but feel a little nostalgic. Although, in my mind, I know that I can not live happily there. I know it is not the best place to bring up my children. You see, we are Muslims and unfortunately that is not a popular way of life in the small mountain communities of Tennessee and North Carolina. The word Muslim to many of the inhabitants of my small hometown is equated to terrorism. This misconception has improved significantly over the years but is still painfully obvious at times. I know that my children deserve to go to Islamic schools and I feel that we deserve to live in an area with Muslim friends. With all that I do have in common with my hometown crowd the one big thing that divides us is religion. I love living amongst Muslims and feel a peace and contentment when I am around them. Being around my Muslim brothers and sisters have negated the feelings of homesickness that I used to feel.
After a few moves, I have realized that it isn’t the people of my hometown that I’m connected with. It is the mountains, the fresh air, and the pace of life. It’s the place.
I have found these feelings to be true for most people. Whether one is from a large metropolitan area or a small southern community, He/she usually feels their hometown brings a feeling of excitement and comfort(much like a comfort food). It doesn’t matter how much you love someone or the people you are around. A place, a simple place, can still tug at your heart.
*Yes, the places pictured here are very near to my hometown.*