home

I’ve been somewhat of a nomad most of my life. Growing up, my mom and I moved every few years for a while. We finally settled in with my grandparents where I stayed for my longest stretch of time at six years. In my adult life, the longest I lived in one city was for eight years. But during those eight years, I lived in six places.
I can’t seem to sit still for too long.

Since I visit so infrequently, the town where my mom still resides that I have always called “home” feels like it is losing its nostalgic grip on me.
When I started to realize this, it scared me a bit.
If that isn’t ‘home’, then where is?

What makes a place a “home”? Where you have friends and community? Is it where you reside? Where you have your job? Is it where your birth-family lives or the town you grew up in? Technology makes the idea of “community” much broader than it was even as recently as my childhood. I have friends all over the world with whom I’m in touch with almost daily. However, there is definitely a difference between my online communications and spending physical time with local friends.

How does one make a place their home? If a person loses their job, why do they struggle to stay in their same locale instead of seeking employment elsewhere?
Is it because moving sucks? It’s a pain in the ass. An awful lot of us have friends in many cities, so having a social outlet probably isn’t too difficult if moving becomes necessary. We usually adapt and adjust fairly quickly to new surroundings, and yet, the struggle is there to stay put. To stay at ‘home’.

I queried a friend of mine yesterday why he’s stayed in Prescott for so many years. He said because he loves that he can go out and usually run into someone he knows. He has some uniquely good friends here, the weather is great, and the countryside is beautiful and easily accessible. I asked him why he didn’t move to a place like Boulder, Colorado. Sounds similar, right? He said he might like it there, but this is where he is and it fits.

But there are a lot of places like that. I’ve lived in a few cities where I’d move back and settle in for a while if there was cause. Having the knowledge that I could go anywhere makes me feel unsettled at times – like I have no solid home base. I have some truly wonderful friends in the town where I now reside. Does one choose to make a place their home and set about creating it consciously, or does it just happen? One day you look back and realize that you’ve been in a place for so many years and have built a community of friends and have history in that location – that you have unwittingly created a home.

Is home as Robert Frost wrote in his poem “The Death of the Hired Man”?

‘Home is the place where, when you have to go there,
They have to take you in.’

(or perhaps it is more like what The Tick says:
“Interviewer: Well, can you… destroy the world?
Tick: Egad! I hope not! That’s where I keep all my stuff!”)

 
 
 
 

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history

I have a lot of books.
It’s actually a little ridiculous considering what a nomad I am.
I’ve wondered many times over the years why I lug all these boxes of books around with me from city to city and dwelling to dwelling.

Today I was looking for a specific book to loan to a friend. As I riffled through my collection, up and down my many bookcases, pulling books out and having tactile memories, I realized that at least part of the reason I carry these heavy boxes with me is because each book has a memory attached.
They are familiar and comfortable, but more than that; they are part of my history.

Ever since ‘e-book readers’ came out a number of years ago, there have been on-going discussions about their value and usefulness.
I’ve got a few books on my iPad, and I quite like reading them that way – I have a number of books easily (and lightly) accessible no matter where I am.

However, I will never have the comfort or romance with those e-books that I have with my often beat-up, well-worn, creased, bound paper books.
When I touch an often-read book of mine, I am almost transported back to when that book made its impression upon me.
Did I first read it in a bright and rain-protected cafe over a series of nights in Seattle?
Nestled in British Columbia winter, did I read it while curled up next to the iron fireplace?
Was it one of the many classics handed down from my mom?
I read many childhood books while curled up on the floor, in a corner of bookcases at the local public library or
while lying on the couch at home until it was too dark to read by the ambient light.

My books are a part of my memories.
There are my solace and rescue. They have been my friends and escape.
They are resources and go-to idea generators.

Because of these reasons, I will continue to box up my library and carry them with me from city to city, dwelling to dwelling.

perfection

Last week I had a conversation with a friend about the idea of “perfection.”
He told me, “…know that you are perfect just the way you are!”
I replied “I dunno. If I was perfect there would be no room for growth.”
He responded, “Is not a seed perfect? And yet, it sprouts and is perfect, then it grows and is perfect.”
I thought about it for a while, then said, “but what if the seed is damaged and can not grow?”
“Then it is perfect as it is.”

I bristled a bit and wasn’t sure why.
It took me another day of mulling this over to realize that we had different ideas of “perfect.”
The word, to me, is a judgement.
What is this idea of “perfection?”
Merriam-Webster has it as, “the condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects…something that cannot be improved”
Who is to say what is a flaw or defect?

I suppose the basis of the seed concept is the idea of perfection as a “state of completeness”, wherein any state one is in is perfect at the moment.

But I couldn’t shake the thought that perfection is an end.
The etymology of “perfect” = “finished”.
How can a seed grow if it is already perfect?
What more is there when one has achieved perfection?
Change?
But if one is perfect, why change?
And how can one be perfect if one is in constant pain or despair or can not feed oneself?

A few days later I was sorting through some of my books while still mulling this conversation over in my head.
I came across an old hand-bound journal of my dad’s. Curious as to the date, I opened it up to the last entry.

This is what I found:

“Dawn:
I have absolute faith in her.
Tell Dawn that I love her and no need to be
perfect”

dad_journal_perfect