Five hours' drive north and west, I'll reach the Adirondack town where my father was born. When we cross the rickety bridge over the Black River, we'll roll the windows down, and the scent of the air will be right and true, full of conifers and honeysuckle. We'll pass the house where my great-grandmother, and my grandfather in turn, grew up, and then turn the corner onto the gravel road to the old goose pasture. At road's end, we'll find the house where my father and his numerous siblings spent their childhoods. About thirty of my close kin will be there, fussing over the grill and throwing sticks for the dozen dogs to chase. Dan and I will get out of the car, groan and stretch a moment, and then bustle around hugging everybody and getting licked by dogs. For three days, we'll be in a place where the river is the noisy next door neighbor and there are more ruby-throated hummingbirds than cars. We'll spend our afternoons canoeing around the tiny islands--Near Blueberry and Far Blueberry--on the lake where my family has, for six generations, kept the cabin the bachelor (many times great-)uncle built back in our lumberjack years. By night, the shy stars show themselves in such numbers, even the most familiar constellations are hard to pick out of the crowd. We'll sleep under them and wake to the sound of the rapids and the smell of berry pancakes for thirty.
And when the last of the dishes is washed, we'll all go away home again.