this must be the place

“Home is where I want to be – but I guess I’m already there”                                                     – Taking Heads “This Must be the Place (Naïve Melody)”

Today I board a plane leaving home in 5 degree weather.  Tomorrow I will land in 85 degree weather.  A shift of environments and a shift in homes. This constant moving of my home in the past few years has left me thinking a lot about what the concept of  “home” really is or means to me.  Is it a place? A dwelling? Having personal belongings? Being with a person or people?  Or is it a feeling as this month’s Chapter writer Ashley Duffalo suggests in her month’s assignment.

It’s been on my mind more than usual this past week. Maybe it’s because of the recent holidays spent with family, or the changes I’m currently making, or maybe the simple fact that I can’t remember my zip code anymore? (This jaunt to St. Croix will be my 10th move in 2 ½ years.)

I remember writing in my high school yearbook that I wanted to be a Bedouin when I grew up.  I’m not sure if I was predicting what my adult life would look like but looking back now, it seems maybe I did become a Bedouin of sorts. The Bedouin’s were an Arab tribe engaged in nomadic herding, and agriculture.  Traditionally they lived in the desert in tents. The scarcity of water and permanent pastoral land required them to move constantly.  It was the environment that shaped the placement of their home.

I have not become a true Bedouin as I am not relying on farming and herding abilities to keep me alive – but I do feel that the environment around me is what shapes my sense of home.  I thank Ashley for recognizing that and pushing me to not only analyze this fact but document it as well in a creative way.

Before leaving this week, I made one more stop in Friendsville, MD. This is the place that has felt most like home to me in the past 2 ½ years.  I would travel to this town from wherever I was staying to visit a handful of fantastic friends including Living Chapters Referee (and now traveling partner Cosmic Jim) as well as my good friend  and poet Ina Clare Hicks.  My last conversation with Ina before leaving brought me closer to understanding the concept of feeling at home.

I will leave you with her thoughts –

She said she always felt at home sitting in front of a window. She would sit still peering out of her favorite window and gaze at the landscape that was visible on the other side of the glass. Sitting there she would remember all the other landscapes that she had gazed upon in past homes. On the inside, the stillness and the quiet brought her a feeling she called home and on the outside she created a connection to the vision, the land and environment which she also called home.

To me what she is talking about is the same thing that Ashley was talking about in her chapter. It’s the quest to connect to your environment while also staying connected to yourself.

I look forward to cultivating this balance by sitting in front of a new favorite window with a view.

1/3/14

 Just finding this blog today? Read the prologue for more details on what Living Chapters is all about. Check out the Chapter Summaries Page to get caught up to date.

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