It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to spend quality time at my favorite coffee place and the last few visits have consited of to-go orders, grabbed hastily en route to some other destination. Today, however, there is no place else that I need to be, no other errand more pressing than simply enjoying the time spent here.
Yet, as I settled into one of the comfy couches with a peppermint mocha and the intent of working on another writing project, Homeward Bound began to play and a subsequent conversation with one of my neighbors led to a discussion of what home is and how we perceive home. It’s a timely conversation as it is the time of year when everyone make plans to visit out-of-town relatives and friends. The vast majority of my friends are planning to return to their hometowns or to welcome their families into their homes for the coming holidays. Others, who are not able to journey to see their loved ones are bemoaning the fact that they won’t be home from the holidays. I’m in the small minority who is not traveling and who plans to spend a quiet holiday weekend at home without having hordes of family descending.
My concept of what constitutes “home” is, I think, perhaps a little different than that of most people I know. I have no ties to the town in which I was born and a lifetime of nomadic wandering has left me with ties to many locations but no feeling of permenance relating to any of them. The place in which I live now feels the most like my geographic home of all the places that I’ve lived, but I’d be a liar if I said I hadn’t considered moving on from this place as well. In fact, I think often about where life will take me next, where I’ll reside next.
So what then is home for me? It is not where I hang my hat or the town in which I park my car each night. Of course, there is the tired cliche that home is where the heart is. When I think of the places where my heart resides, I’m inclined to think that perhaps this is closer to the truth. Yet, parts of my heart reside in dark corners, in places of hurt and loss that are far from being a home to me. A bit of my heart resides in ashes scattered over Puget Sound, but home is not in those cold waters. Nor is home in those painful last days of my father’s life where a bit of my heart was left behind. Home is not in those moments of suffering, sorrow, and painful growth.
Home is a collection of moments, places, and people that I cherish and love deeply. Home is giving comfort to someone in need. Home is standing at the rim of the Grand Canyon one Christmas eve as a light snow fell in a moment of deep, meditative silence. Home is the sound of my best friend’s voice travelling five hundred miles of phone line to just to say hello. Home is feeling the presence of my spiritual guardian constantly surrounding me. Home is the zen calm that writing brings to me. Home is the memory of looking into Andy’s eyes and knowing that I was accepted and loved unconditionally. Home is looking into a child’s eyes and seeing the potential that resides in them.
In short, home is where my soul sings.