July 7th, 2004

abstract butterfly

Finding Home (a participation)

"Life is a school of self-expression. Man must express all that he is, or feel frustrated". --Frederick Bailes

"Hearing the cuckoo,
even in Kyoto
I long for Kyoto".--Basho

Did you ever have a moment when you were completely, utterly at home? I don't mean home as a physical destination, and I don't mean home as a passing, temporal thrill.
I mean that sense of calm and personal location that occurs only when you've reached a certain mental space--a sensation like "home".

I'll tell you some places in which I've felt at home. I've felt at home on a July night in years around the year 1980, when we'd gather at my grandfather's to fry catfish and hush puppies in sunflower seed oil in a huge cauldron under the pine trees. I've felt at home in the mid-1980s, driving my Plymouth Colt Vista down farm to market roads on Sunday mornings, listening to "Prairie Home Companion", staring out at remote little barns and churches. I've felt at home on a Thanksgiving Day taking a morning walk with my wife among the mountain mahogany and scrub oak in the Angeles National Forest, the chapparal all glistening with November moisture.

I've had houses, sure, that felt like home. I've had cars that felt like home.
But merely being in a house or in a car is not being home. I'm sure that I'm not alone in having a phase or two in my life in which I felt alone in the midst of others, not at home at home, if you will.

Let's play a game. Tell me, in the comments, two or three places where you've felt at home. When we're done, we should have a list of "home-like" places. I'm guessing that while some will be literal homes, sometimes home is not a house at all.
Come join me, and when we're done, we might have a really cool list of how varied home can be!