Monday, July 26, 2010

Going Home

She went home this month. Not to the home she grew up in--that home had the crab-apple tree she swung from like a veritable monkey, pheasants in the back yard, and the smell of pot roast and bread baking rising from the kitchen. The home she would stampede up the stairs, and stampede back down. The home where her glasses would steam up when she walked in the door after making snow angels in the yard.

That home exists only in her mind now.

Nor did she go to the home she lived in during high school, where she would unlock the milk delivery door before school because she always lost her keys, and if she unlocked the delivery door, she could stretch her hand into the hallway and unlock the regular door. That home was where she and her sister would sleep outside on lounge chairs on the porch upstairs during hot summer nights, hidden from view by the huge maple tree, and be unhappily serenaded by the birds at 4 am. The home where the dining room was permanently speckled with glitter and sequins from so many dance recital costumes. The home where she could look out her bedroom window on sleepless nights and watch a red light blinking on and off, on and off at the very top of a radio tower.

That home, too, only exists in her mind now.

Nor did she return to her college homes--the one where she lived in the attic, or the Hippie House, or the apartment in Italy. She didn't visit her first apartment (where she was burglarized even though there was nothing to steal) or her second apartment (where she wasn't burglarized even though there was marginally more to steal). Not her first home, owned as an adult, where she built a stone wall in the front garden; nor her second home, where she would count the fireflies flashing as they hovered over the ground during the long summer evenings.

Those spaces are all inaccessible to her.

No. She traveled, visiting some places she'd long been familiar with, and visiting others she'd never been before. She drove, flew, cruised, bussed, subway-ed, ferried, and trained it. And in the craziness of three weeks of consecutive travel, she found herself strangely at home in the oddest places: standing on the bow of the ship with the wind holding her up, rushing at her, whipping her hair into funnels around her head. She sucked in this air, feeling as if she could lift off, and fly, completely at home in the sky. She wanted to stay here--in the air--forever. The air outside called to the air within her lungs, to the oxygen flowing through her body. Join us! it said. And she wanted to--oh, how she wanted to. The sun could shine down, the sea could rise up, and regardless of anything else, she could stand in the vortex of rushing air, feeling its power, like her dreams of flying, lifting up, looking down, being carried along by a power that was not her own.

She found herself at home in the blue, blue sea, buoyed up by saltwater waves, rising and falling, rising and falling, surrounded by water that could not possibly be this blue. Water that swirled into the pink sand, water that pushed at her, soaking her when she fought against it. Water that loved her, that enfolded her in its beauty.

She found herself at home driving across a range of mountains on her way to a campus full of talent and love, of colleagues and friends, a place that she suspects has always felt like home, a place that will always feel like home. Surrounded by words and ideas, she contemplated all things that had brought her to this point--all the many homes she has had, the homes she will yet have--for nothing about her is settled. Her blood calls to her to move on. Perhaps that is why she felt so at home within the rushing wind and the churning waves. Nothing is settled. Nothing stands still. She least of all.

1 comment:

  1. This is the most beautiful post I've ever read of yours. It made me teary and took my breath away. Powerful things, those words of yours.