Woof. Woof woof. The consistent barking of my neighbor’s dog awakens me. I look outside the window only to realize its just 5 o’clock in the morning. Four hours before I need to get ready to head out with my family for a Sunday outing.
“No use hitting the pillow now. I won’t be able to sleep anyhow. ”, I tell myself. Having no clue how to spend these 5 hours, I start walking around my house.
My room, with its orange hues, is the brightest one of all the rooms.
Be it summer, winter or monsoon, the room is always airy with plenty of light.
Passing by my parents’ room, I feel a sense of warmth. The beige and cascade green always make me feel warm inside. I make myself a cup of hot coffee and head towards our balcony, which faces the beautiful, lush green lawns next to the slope of the nearby hill.
I take a deep breath, inhaling the beautiful aroma of the wet soil. The chirps and trills and cuckoos of the birds draw my attention.
People say, birds never visit places where we stay. That is so not true!
A person just has to get up early and have a stroll down the road near his house. It’s hard to believe that there are so many of them around us. Soon, I see a few people walking down the road. As time passes by, more people appear and so do their vehicles.
The sounds of the feathered friends are replaced by the honking and beeping of the cars and scooters.
Just then, my mom reminds me that I have to get ready, ending the delightful moments I just experienced. However, there would be more such mornings; and I certainly look forward to them.
“Home Sweet Home” by Winslow Homer depicts the scene inside a lively camp before the Union Army goes into battle; the makeshift tents that provide the only shelter at night, the stale hardtack by the fire, the hot tea boiling over the flames, the coarse fabric hanging in the sun to dry, the soldier’s gear lying where it had been left the night before, the smell of soiled boots drying in preparation for combat and the sound of Union band playing patriotic tunes such as “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “When Sherman Marched Down to the Sea” (1). Directly across the Rappahannock River, which is faintly visible in the background, lies the Confederate Army as they too are enjoying their last few hours before battle; cooking dinner over small fires, sharing memories of less trying times and surely trying to drown out the Union’s patriotic songs with their own such as “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” and “Dixie, The Land of King Cotton” (2) (3). However, the true meaning of “Home Sweet Home” lies in the middle of the Union camp with the two soldiers (6) dressed in blue.Both are in such deep thought, as if their immediate surroundings are suppressed by the memories of long forgotten feelings; fresh cornbread cooking in the stove, cherished laughter of children playing in the backyard, the comfort of sitting in a rocking chair by the warm fire, or maybe even chime of the grandfather clock reminding them that they are in the safety of home (4) (5). Time appears to have no bearing on the two Union soldiers (6) as they sit lost in thought.The painting suggests this moment of reminiscence was brought upon the two men (6) by the opened letter on the sitting soldier’s lap.The picture offers no clues as to whom the letter is from, but it doesn’t matter.