Native Soil Factor

M. Sandra Babcock 

© Copyright 2001 by M. Sandra Babcock 
 After September 11th, the urge to return home, 
to touch native soil, becomes more ugent.
Last week I wrote a letter to an aunt I have no recollection of. Caught within a fifteen-year desire to visit native soil, genealogical inquisitiveness and the infamous September 11th attack, I threw caution of the Anthrax debacle to the wind and, with much trepidation, mailed the letter.

Let's see . . . that's eight days and counting.

There's no logical reason why I want to return home when a chill hits the air and the landscape is awash with vibrant autumn hues. Yet, as Thanksgiving approaches, my mind wanders three thousand miles east to New York. I have yet to board that plane because I have yet to discover what prompts this desire. The ebb and flow of kindred life is, at times, illogical.

There are no Hallmark memories of this holiday with my clan, only the hideous doings of quarrels and the propensity of mashed yams becoming mushy orange bombs slung across the table. Still the yearning remains like an unquenched thirst. I liken it to the primal instinct of salmon swimming upstream undaunted by the opposing force of water. This instinctive desire to return to one's birthplace remains stubbornly resistant to evolution. The salmon and I are living proof of that.

After the attack on New York, the desire to "be a part of it" became more urgent, perhaps essential. I wonder if I will once again stroll along Jones Beach, touch the white sand, see the old Long Island neighborhood, savor New York crumb cake (there is no equal, trust me) and place my feet on native soil. I wonder how long New York will await my arrival. A perpetual truth circulates in my mind - you can never go home again, at least not to the home you remember thirty-eight years ago. The childhood images I hold are not the reality of today. And yet, this pull to plant my feet on native soil is as innate as breathing.

So I wait, eight days, thirteen hours, thirty-six minutes and counting. Conceivably my aunt will respond despite the familial umbilical cord that is stretched taut. Either way, by desire or necessity, I will someday return home to quench this undeniable New York thirst. I hope the connection is established.

I hope mashed yams still sling across a table with similar intensity.

I hope family resemblance is fact.

I hope the adage "blood is thicker than water" holds true.

I hope this gut wrenching pull finds purpose in the New York I remember and the New York that is.

But, more importantly, I hope New York awaits my arrival as much as I await my return.

Contact Sandra

(Messages are forwarded by The Preservation Foundation.
So, when you write to an author, please type his/her name
in the subject line of the message.)

Sandra's Story List and Biography

Book Case

Home Page

The Preservation Foundation, Inc., A Nonprofit Book Publisher