2.1 – Home

Home is everything that I’ve left. An ever-shifting reality.  The only one I know, really.

I’ve never defined it so much as the physical spaces, but the memories that each portrayed.

I don’t think I think of a single place when I think of home. When I feel lost, home are the places that I run to. Home is not where the heart is, it’s more of an internal compass–a suburban lighthouse, signaling and welcoming my retreat

Home feels like being lost on coast to coast adventures somewhere in the heartland. Like burning twilight for the last inning of neighbourhood baseball. It’s being the last pick of that team captain and just being happy that we’re gonna play some ball.

Home is made of flashing billboards of fading memories–sheet music to the harmony of youth.

I think that when we talk about home we all feel this way to some extent. Home is not a collection of things and crafted building materials, but a collection of memories. Here, I think, comes the oft cited juxtaposition between a house and a home.

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A picture of the backyard of my childhood home is nothing I’d share on Instagram today. It’s green and overgrown in the summer, full of life—and more likely a murky brown, when not covered in snow, in the winter months.

Yet, this is where I would often find myself escaping.  Escaping even from the house that adorned the property. I spent summer evenings in the spaces in between my backdoor and the treeline chasing fireflies into soup containers. I’d marvel at their glow, and share with them that I’ve really been wanting a night-lite.

Our property really only contained a half-acre, meager by suburban Midwest standards. But the treeline, which began in our backyard, was but the open door to childhood adventure. I know today that the relative size was no larger than a shopping center parking lot. But as I child it contained limitless possibilities and the entirety of nature.

Maybe escaping from the sounds of familial bickering, or needing sometime away from my brothers and sisters, made me enjoy more the days we spent hiding in the never-ending shade of the massive oak-filled forest.

Mother Nature never made old growth forests for climbing; the branches are far too high on the trunk to grab onto. This just made me wonder more what the world might look like, sitting atop the canopy.

The smaller ones proved far better for climbing. The funny thing is, on afternoons I spent conquering altitude, I’d look down for the first time and remember that I’m afraid of such heights. It was at those moments that I’d stop, sit, and listen to the sounds of nothingness.

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I realized just recently that I am always earphones whenever I’m walking to/from class or my home, and in doing so, I’m never truly alone with myself like I’d have been on those branches.

Heavy machinery tore down the grove one morning for a new development.

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I spend the predawn on the weathered porch of my East Vancouver tenement wondering if you’re already tired of the Ohio suns. Half a world away; I’m just happy it isn’t raining.  It has been since the Olympics.

I often am asked what this place means to me.  I haven’t an answer for them, sometimes it just means that home is 2000 miles away.

Yet, I often ask myself when waking up to the mountains on the north shore how I could live ever anywhere else.

I don’t think you realize that a place is “home” until you leave it. When the sense of longing is tied to more than people. To a warm bed, a familiar scent, the sound that the chimney makes right before a storm.

Citations

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What I Learned In Class Today: Aboriginal Issues in the Classroom.Dir. Karrmen Crey and Amy Perreault. First Nations Studies Program, U. of British Columbia, 2007. Web. http://www.intheclass.arts.ubc.ca

3 thoughts on “2.1 – Home”

  1. “When I feel lost, home are the places that I run to. Home is not where the heart is, it’s more of an internal compass–a suburban lighthouse, signaling and welcoming my retreat” Rob.
    Wow, I don’t know if I’ve ever heard a better, more poignant description of home. This really resonates with me. Again wow.
    In reading everyone’s blogs, I noticed almost all of us had similar things we called “home”, things that only meant something because they were the memories and the feelings that gave us us a sense of what home was.
    “Home feels like being lost on coast to coast adventures somewhere in the heartland. Like burning twilight for the last inning of neighbourhood baseball. It’s being the last pick of that team captain and just being happy that we’re gonna play some ball.” Rob
    “Putting it into words seems kind of arbitrary, like trying to describe the Universe or God, how it felt the first time you got slobbered on by your favorite dog, or the comforting scent of the air in your parent’s bedroom after waking up from a nightmare when you were a kid.” Courtney (me).
    Your connection to nature really resonated with me as well, as did the destruction of it. In my blog I write about how the connection to the land and my relationship with it growing up over the years, literally grounded me to this place I call home. Now this sense of home is also tied into the First Nation’s people who have cared for this land forever…I’m now looking at how my relationship with the land, and their relationship with the land has been informing me to make choices that support both. I feel that is my responsibility. Have you ever felt this being in California or in Vancouver… Questioning your own relationship to this place we call home… because Settlers values, and government policies have forcibly removed this land from First Nations people?

  2. I have too felt that shared feeling of being in possession of something that I myself never earned. As a kid I grew up in a fairly homogeneous white community in Ohio. At some point during the Industrial Revolution a working class section of town was built to service the needs of the town next door. At some point along the line, the demographics of the neighbourhood shifted to a largely African American population which resulted in a redistricting of the city to intentionally exclude the children in the poorer neighbourhood from the school district in the 1960’s. As you might imagine, the high school I went to nearly entirely lacked diversity. To experience this on a day to day basis felt like a had a role in its creation even though it happened decades before I was born. To this day I find it a travesty and cannot believe it has yet to be changed.

    Further reading/Citation:

    Hitchcock, Andrew. We’ve Always Been Free. iUniverse Publishing, 2012. Print (Accessed via Web).

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