What a backyard means to me

If you feel like you’re lost
Think of the backyard you came from
That way you’ll always know
The way back home

There’s a song on Lori McKenna’s new album that I’ve played on repeat for the past week. I have been a fan of Lori McKenna for a long time — one, because she’s an atypical country folk music star (in my opinion). She’s from Massachusetts. And now that I’m a mom, I appreciate her music so much more. I’d love to have a drink with her.

Anyway, “The Way Back Home” is all about your childhood home and how there’s a feeling that’s sparked when you just roll up to your front door. And that line — think of the backyard you came from — is a beautiful image for me.

Because my brother and sister had already moved out of the house for most of my childhood years, I spent a lot of time alone. This meant my home was my stage, my studio, my canvas. And the backyard was the place where I often brought out my First Sony — with the mic or without — and would just play cassette tapes over and over again. The swingset in the yard became my stage and I would sing, choreograph, jump, or just swing endlessly while listening to the Big Chill soundtrack. There are some songs that just immediately bring me back to that place. I remember fall days when we’d rake leaves (I’m sure I didn’t contribute much) — but there would be a giant pile of leaves that my parents would leave right so I could jump off the swings, and into it.

Where W roams — whatever his backyard will be — I hope it can also always leave him with that sense of home and being and wholeness that my backyard left me.

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