Sunday, August 14, 2011
I "met" Amy through blogging, but then something changed - either she stopped blogging or something happened, we lost track. But then we found each other on Facebook. You can't plan for wonderful connections like this! Anyway she asked some of us to write about going home for an article she's writing. THANK YOU Amy for asking me to think about this. It has been an interesting process.
The household I grew up within was chaotic and often very unhappy, overcrowded and full of disregard. It never felt like home, nor has any place since felt like my home. I've lived all my life in the homes of others, such as my ex husband, ex partner, ex housemates. None of those places ever felt like mine. I carved out a corner or maybe a whole room in those places, but it was always crystal clear that the houses themselves were someone else's home, not mine. The apartments I have rented have never felt like home either. Everywhere I've ever lived has been a waystation, a place to put my feet down temporarily. Lord I was born a ramblin' woman.
Now don't feel sorry for me, please! I've learned how to notice moments when I can relax and feel at home no matter where I'm living. Cool, hey? There are landscapes and seasons, times of day and a number of activities that make me feel at home. For instance, cleaning house, cooking, gardening (such as I engage in that), and entertaining all give me a great sense of belonging. "Tending" or contributing to the upkeep of wherever I am is a beautiful feeling. I love feeding people. Making dinner is such a sweet feeling of being home!
I'm very much at home on the swampy landscape of Washington DC. My feet feel like they belong on the ground here - don't ask me why - especially in fall and winter, my two favorite seasons. Spring is hard because of my allergies and summer? Well, I'm not very much at home during summer here, but summer passes after which I'm all comfy and cozy again.
Though I loved so many things about San Francisco, the land there was never right for me. The ground always shakes, mostly in too subtle a way to viscerally notice, but it's there. I was uneasy in San Francisco, always. Portland, Oregon was an even less perfect landscape. The land was wrong for me, it just didn't fit.
It's funny or ironic or maybe just bizarre, that the landscape where I feel most at home is Somerset and Wiltshire counties in England. I have no justifiable connection to that place, no family or friends in the area. Still, the moment my foot touches the ground there, I am absolutely resplendent with a feeling of being home. I saw this same phenomena when I was in India with my ex husband. He was far more at home in the cacaphony of Benares than in his home town of New Haven, Connecticut. Interesting, hey?
Being diurnal, I am at home in daylight, but not so much at night. When it gets dark I'm always slightly uncomfortable; even on the most beautiful moonlit night. I like Brother Sun, I like to wake up when he does and spend my time in the light of day. I'm at home in daylight, I am!
When I was growing up, my family didn't feel like home, but they do now. My sibs, their kids, and their kids' kids all feel like home to me. I am rich in family! Also among my nearest and dearest friends, I can breathe and relax, and feel utterly at home.
Sometimes I feel jealous when people talk about the family home, a place they can always return to, where they always feel welcomed, a structure in which they grew up, an attic or basement full of their drawings from grade school and such. My own experience is so radically different it's hard to even imagine. Wow. But the cool thing is: I figured out how to make myself at home no matter what. So, that's good, right?
Amy thank you so much for asking me to think about this. Very fun! Can't wait to see the finished article.