The word HOME is used to speak of a lodging (the nest), an emotional state (peace or comfort), the community where we live (da ‘hood), a final resting place (paradise), and our identity (all that we are). In HOME, as within our own existence, all of these elements are woven together.
Our need for shelter is primordial, and in our day and age we tend to be very attached to our shelters. Gaining possession of one’s own abode can sometimes be seen as the ultimate satisfaction, but what is certain is that being properly housed can indeed provide us the keys to other important places. Without a place to call home, it is difficult to feel part of a community. It also becomes more of a challenge to find that place, or state of mind, where one feels safe and therefore free to be oneself, to lower one’s guard, to create. If these basic, universal needs are compromised, our identity suffers. Or seen through another lens, without the security procured by feeling at home, we are lost at sea.
I left my homeland. Left my family far behind. I set up here, amongst the French people. I gave birth to two French children. Mais où donc se trouve “chez moi”? So where is home, actually? If I focus obsessively on the home I left behind, the best I can hope for is to be a floating entity here: a seed blown this way and that by the breeze, never landing in fertile soil, never becoming attached to the earth or sprouting roots — roots which necessarily nourish — never becoming a true part of this land.
If I surrender to this soil, if I accept all of the gifts it offers me (nurtrients, water, light, camraderie…) will I become a native plant? Will I belong henceforth to this country? Will I ever manage to extract myself from here if one day I wish to make my home elsewhere? Or will I be stuck here for all of eternity, here in this very spot where the wind lay me down? And what if here were the same thing as there?
Well perhaps not “the same” but what if everything that’s over there were simply part of the same fabric as everything that’s over here? What if, in the end, our commonalities vastly outweighed our differences? And what if these roots, which I am starting to release and let grow from the very depths of my being, what if they turned out not to be wicked ropes tying me down to this place, but instead are simply there to connect me to the matter I require to grow? And what if these roots turned out to be something much closer to the concentric circles that emmanate from a tree’s heart, making me bigger and more solid with each passing day? If I allow myself to see them in this light, I begin to understand that they are not holding me back, but rather supporting me where i am. They will not try to stop me when the moment has come to fly away. On the contrary, they will surely guide me, providing a map I will know by heart, helping me to hold onto myself, even in new and foreign lands.