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December 8, 2011

Coming home, Returning home, Being home, Having a home; Seeking home. Home can be acted upon in so many ways. Its funny how language traps us into understandings. The word home is one of those homonymous words that masks itself as a singular entity. Yet in our language, the noun for the physical home (as in, “I am in my home”) and the noun for the conceptual home (as in, “I feel so at home here”), although intermarried, are distinct entities. It is the conceptual home that I seek, that I think we all seek. That is not to say that the barn erected on Spring Hollow Farm with its weathered wood slats crosshatching every-which-way or the little white farm house dotted with chickens in the front yard and the back doesn’t represent a kind of physical home. But then again, so do yellow cabs and, well, black cabs to be exact, and measured streets and metro rides and southwest Harlem. Many people call many places home, or retreat to the over-used slogan, “home is where the heart is.” I wish someone would just unpack that damn phrase and give us ten more poetic and more honest renditions. (I won’t try here…). As I return from a week in New York City, as I return refreshed by the welcoming arms of the pulse of the cars zig-zagging through streets, zero…to…30…back…to…zero…in…30…seconds (sometimes my own car, I will admit), the unstoppable flow of a stream always gushing in two directions at once, impossible to pass through or cross over, the impenetrable but porous skyline that receives you as you retreat out of Newark’s filthy byways, the humanity of all sitting together, for a few minutes at the end of our day, as the train rolls in and out of her stops, through our many homes. I am refreshed by all this homeness. And I am welcomed into the arms of home as I return from home to home, to the arms of a farmer who loves his animals, who nurtures his calves as their mothers receive a welcomed rest from nursing a near-adolescent, home to chickens who remember my voice (especially Joseph), to llamas that are excited to see their hostess/chef/friend who so faithfully serves up grain each night, and to the empty-leaved, sun drenched mountains. I am home away from home. The paradox of us all, as the reality is that home shifts with us where we go, where we love, when we love. Home is something we have to offer much  more than it is something we only have to receive. And we can exist comfortably in the paradox of its shifting state, if we just try.

(ps…for all the joys of digital photography (blah…I miss me my darkroom) and photoshop (double-blah…it eats my days and nights!) these images are taken on an iPod (yes, an iPod!) with an app called instagram. I suppose we must all give in to the cultural-technological river in some areas of our lives. And I suppose when a five pound lens doesn’t always fit in your purse, an iPod slips in your pocket… Thanks, Karina, for the app inspiration!).

One Comment leave one →
  1. Melissa West permalink
    October 23, 2017 1:12 am

    Hello! I am a stranger here. But maybe you know my friend Marci? I lived my adolescent and young adult years in the Shenandoah Valley on a beef cattle farm with chickens etc. among the Blue Ridge mountains. I now live in Dallas. I miss that Valley Home. Thank you for your blog and your well-chosen words. I appreciate the photographs too….( studied photography at the University of Virginia.) This blog makes me remember that sweet country ‘home.’

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