I have a deep-seated ambivalence toward home. Those who’ve peopled my homes have for the most part been a bit of heaven on Earth which is what I think home essentially is when achieved. Yet, home is also something I strove to survive. My grandparents provided my first home & they continue to be the closest thing to the ideal of home I’ve ever known.
“I have been very happy with my homes, but homes really are no more than the people who live in them.”
~ Nancy Reagan ~
The best thing I can say about my so-called hometown is that it helped create my desire to travel. I will admit, though, that being from a small town kept the limits I was determined to push within the realm of survivability. Being a California girl is a state (HA) of which I’m both proud & thankful as, despite the Central Valley‘s failings, it is right between the ocean & mountains.
“Home is where you hang your head.”
~ Groucho Marx ~
Having felt more at home away from many of the houses that served the purpose, it’s not surprising I’ve made a practice of creating home wherever I go. Perhaps growing up in a specific house that serves as home creates more likelihood to equate house & home. What’s particularly sad is when the two get confused; a container’s true value comes from what it holds. House-keeping is not the same as home-making.
“Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.”
~ Matsuo Basho ~
There was a family home that not only proved my escape & salvation but which provided the type of tangible memories I’ve always imagined typical of childhood. Recently discovering it will be sold was difficult in both fact & timing, given the odyssey of homelessness I’ve been on for a year. The loss of what was essentially my childhood home may enhance my appreciation for having a home but does nothing to increase my interest in what form it takes.
“Home is not where you live, but where they understand you.”
~ Christian Morgenstern ~
What has been missing for the past year is a safe haven. No longer having the Camp Nelson home pictured above certainly increases that lack since it was the first haven I knew; it taught me a place can be as nurturing as its people. Sadly, I hadn’t been there for two years & no longer being able to spend time in my home away from home made having my own haven yet more important while it remained nearly impossible.
Not only is it the people that make a house a home but houses & homes alike are extensions of their people. A house that requires more energy than it fosters can never be a nurturing home. The energy of a home is reciprocal. My own limited energy is only in balance with a smaller space to maintain but it also needs to be a space I can make my own. The studio apartment that just became RhodesTer‘s & mine through a dark comedy of errors is likely the best fit I’ve ever had.
“I long, as does every human being,
to be at home wherever I find myself.”
~ Maya Angelou ~
Just like with so much else, it truly is the quality of a space not the quantity of space that counts. There are many who believe quantity lends quality & it may justifiably go together for some. Yet, it’s people of the UTMOST quality that seem to have — or is it need? — the least quantity. Jim & René have a space akin to our new one only theirs is mobile. Lisa, her man & her cat are on a similar odyssey to the one we’ve hopefully now ended. Julie & her family are facing the very situation that led to our year-long homelessness.
“One may have a blazing hearth in one’s soul and yet no one ever come to sit by it. Passersby see only a wisp of smoke from the chimney and continue on the way.”
~ Vincent van Gogh ~
Don’t get me wrong; I appreciate a beautiful house. Old homes seem practically alive to me & architecture is a passion since I love artistry in all its forms. The history of that Camp Nelson home lent to its significance, various homes growing up provided irreplaceable spaces within them & the one house ever owned was exactly what I needed at the time. Of course, having a house convinced my hunny & I that we never wanted one again yet we did both enjoy & need that one while we had it. Everyone’s life, in its various seasons, will have & be able to support different ideals. I will forever be grateful I had an opportunity to design a home:
“Home is a name, a word, it is a strong one; stronger than magician ever spoke, or spirit ever answered to, in the strongest conjuration.”
~ Charles Dickens ~
One of my earliest homes was in a stairwell; the adjoining bedroom was almost beside the point. There was the corner which held the kitchen table in Camp Nelson, lost to a remodel three decades ago, that I would’ve gladly camped out in indefinitely & practically did. There’ve even been wee spaces in odd places; a picnic table outside the math building in highschool, a bench not too far from the coffee in the college quad, a creek bed in Camp Nelson, a meadow in the foothills, inside the circle made by the branches of a Weeping Willow & a funky studio in Palm Springs.
Home is where you feel at home..