All the romance novels these days try to convince their audience that home can't possibly be defined as a place, but as a person. That it's somehow wrong to describe the home as a house or an environment that gives you an inner comfort that can't be completely fulfilled with anything else. Even though the home representation cliche can appeal to every intrigued teenage girl, including myself, I think a home can be spoken from a group of people that make you feel unconditional love, an entire community, or it can just be a simple two-story house.
At the peak of Cobb Mountain, in California, there lies an old fifteen hundred square foot cabin. It first belonged to my great grandfather and has been passed down through the family for generations. Four wooden walls, a roof on top, vintage furniture, a fireplace, a deck out back, with a forest and mountains surrounding its entirety, that's all this house is. But to my family and me, it means so much more.
There's a memory overload when it comes to this small cabin built on the tallest ridge of the Mayacamas Mountains. I remember climbing tree trunks and collecting obsidian rocks with my brother, Matthew, and all of our cousins. Competing for the last piece of desert, we would all try to accomplish the ultimate height of the trees or compiling the most rocks. I always performed well with the gathering rubble, but being the strongest, Matt took us down with tree climbing.
In this small community, there were always fun things to do on the weekends like bingo, arcade games, and karaoke. My aunt and uncles would get overly competitive with bingo and somehow find a way to argue with the instructor, Bingo Bob. Matthew and my cousins, Lauren and Jack, would be battling it out on the old race car games. Then at the end, my cousin Ashley and I would close out the night with our famous karaoke song, 1985 by Bowling For Soup. Knowing most of the words, the performance got a standing ovation from the whole audience every time. Even if there were only thirty people in the place, including our whole family, it never failed to put a smile on both of our faces.
On September 12, 2015, I remember coming home from school and my mom telling me the news of a wildfire occurring in Lake County, California. Thinking about it to this day, I can still feel my heart sinking deep into my stomach. Seeing the pictures of my favorite restaurants and all the homes surrounded by flames made my throat twist in knots. I couldn't believe it was happening, that a place with so many cherished memories could just be completely destroyed. But then hearing the incredibly fortunate news from my grandpa that the cabin was safe and sound, it sprang a sigh of relief through my body. At least the house was safe - that's all that matters - I thought to myself.
Going back to California after that was difficult for so many reasons, but overall it made me come to a realization. The recognition of how much this one place has impacted me as a human being. The incredible people I've met, the memories I've shared with my amazing family, and the places in this one small town have shaped me into the person that I am today. Despite the fact that I can't physically visit most of the places anymore, I still have them in my heart. And that's truly what I call home. The family that I love unconditionally, a community that has taught me what it really feels like to be a part of something special, and lastly a cramped, elderly house that still stands to this day and carries so many memories.