A week, A month
A year
10…20 years
A moment, blinking against the wind.
Sand between the toes
Water breaking on rocks
On sand, a bright eclipse
A symphony, deafening
Drowning out all else
Swallowing the years in
A wave of nostalgia
Of water
And sand
Of rocks, older than memory
And time as
Fluid as the sea

Some places really never do stop feeling like home.

The way that sentence is written bothers me both grammatically and sentimentally, but I still mean it. It’s a dissonance I bracingly enjoy and that dissonance nearly animates the sense of Home for me. I’ve written about this before – about my understanding of home vs. my expectations of home vs. my knowing I am home. And here I am again.

Perhaps it’s the way of my life – a searching for, wanting of, calling to – home, and it’s fluid definition which I cannot fully communicate, but here I’ll try again:

Home – A place my heart is?
Home – a place rooted to a life?
Home – a place.

  • A place to which my entire self sees to connect
    sub, un, and fully, conscious
  • soul deep – a visceral reaction
  • unexpected – flooded with memory fully of expected promise which doesn’t always seem logically tangible – manifested in a feeling of being suffocated by love and loss and an inability to communicate how those have shaped who I am – how the words I am don’t even actually convey the interconnected strands that are woven into my core.
  • A hidden place
  • A hiding place

None and all of that work – my definition is lacking and full.

As I read two very different books recently, both attempted an understanding of home – or perhaps a justification of it in some way – a connection for the reader, for the characters.

In Heretics, Chesterton writes something to the effect of a place feeling like home until a person chooses to put down roots, and then it becomes just another place – that home is illusive.

and then, in All the Pretty Horses, McCarthy’s main character comes across some wise men as he returns to his place of origin – having ridden far across countries to find his place, and found resistance everywhere he might choose, his good friend invites him to stay and he refuses. Our friend asks: “Where is your country”, to which the response: ” I don’t know where it is. I don’t know what happens to country.”. And there it is. Home, country – stationary and a constantly moving target. That illusive place that Chesterton claims, is echoed here – and also in my own experience.

Besides being hard to pin down, the other thing that is clear in both of these descriptions of home/country is the feeling of connection that man and country experience – that they are linked in some inexplicable way – a feeling which makes moving away from that country and thriving both difficult and likely futile – as one seems to depend upon the other in a way invisible. The tension of longing a constant background to the entire story.

My own experience reflects a little of both of these literary Truths. The majority of my life has now been lived within the town I currently reside – it’s what should be described as home. Try though I may (or may not over the years), these 20 years have not inspired the feeling or sense of home that I immediately , emotionally, physically, feel when I drive into my mountains, or up to my beach. I don’t know the development involved in connecting a person to a place – I don’t know if it’s genetically woven or developmental between the ages of 3 and 18 somewhere. Whatever it may be, 20 years later, I’m baffled by the need to laugh and cry, and sing and run, and LIVE that occurs the very moment I cross the city lines. It’s a roll down the car window, breathe dep and sink into the foundations of self. A grateful, calming, intense, desire to stake a claim and live my best life right there.

A further up, further in, feeling that makes me look around and expect the redeeming of all things.

A longing to never leave, and a knowing that I can’t stay.

So. What I wonder is:

Is it just me? What or where is your sense of home? Has it evolved since you were young? Did you choose it? DO you have different words for this feeling?

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