The other day I went home to visit mom and dad. Up Cotton Hill Road I drove, around steep curves, past the house with the chandelier in the window, and past developments that, when I moved here at age eleven, used to be cow fields.

I turned on our road and looked up to see the house. Small and white, it sits on a hill above the road, framed from behind by a blue-green ridge of mountain called Mason’s Knob. I drove slowly up the driveway. There was the climbing tree, the lilac bush, the woods where we built forts, the hill where I used to go to cry and pray and make decisions.

Dad’s vegetable gardens spread out in front of the house, haphazardly placed wherever the ground is level enough. Rows of delicate green plants already are sprouting. Dad got a big bowl from the kitchen and filled it with fresh spinach and green leaf lettuce for our salads for lunch.

We sat on the porch, looking out over the hollow below, laughing, sharing news. I sat close to the hummingbird feeder, and the tiny ruby-throated birds dove in, zooming and buzzing, making me jump.

Dad did something boyish. Mom rolled her eyes. I watched them and laughed.