My dog Cassie was born and raised in Southern California, so this weekend was her first time in snow, and early Saturday morning it was funny to see her trying to get her bearings in a newly transformed white world that suddenly had no familiar features. Since she essentially sees with her nose, all the smells she'd come to associate with our corner of Central Park were gone. It was as if we'd entered Narnia via the wardrobe; when, I wondered, would the White Witch appear?
Meanwhile, I found myself watching Depression-era movies on TV. Saturday, I visited the warmheartedly eccentric Vanderhof clan of 1938's You Can't Take It With You and saw their neighbors losing their homes because of the machinations of fat cat A.P. Kirby and his greedy corporation. Had I time-traveled 70 years?
Sunday was the first night of Chanukah. This year, my family is scattered widely and won't be able to get together for a couple of weeks, so I lit the candles, availed myself of potato pancakes from Artie's and watched the end of The Wizard of Oz.
I'd grown up watching the film every year on TV, yet was surprised at how moved I found myself - by Dorothy's self-created family of odd and endearing friends, by the notion that whatever you're looking for can be found right in your own backyard, and by the disturbing feeling that, like Cassie in the park the day before, I had lost my way.
A few tissues later, I remembered that home is what you make of it, which is why there's no place like it.