30 September 2009
I missed my turn on purpose and went the extra half-mile to the overlook next to the hang-glider jump off. The view was fabulous, of course. Rolling green valleys turned to blue hills rising in the distance. But the wind on that piece of red rock was strong and wild, and it threatened to knock me off my feet. If it had, I reckon I would have flown up and back – not forward off the cliff – then, perhaps, floated gently over the edge and above the valley, to better survey it from such a magnificent height. Nevertheless, I kept my feet firmly planted, until I could stand the buffeting no longer and sought the shelter of my car. Time to go home. Within minutes I was driving in that very same valley, on my way home/not home. The solitude and scenery ripe for pensiveness, I began to think about home. Home used to be the place I lived with my family and missed when I was elsewhere. Then it became nowhere, then it changed, then it became many places, which themselves changed, again. The pavement slipping below me and the blue sky slipping above, it occurred to me that home does not change; that it is, in fact, an absolute. Home is an absolute, of which fragments manifest themselves in our lives. Sometimes we find Home in places we did not expect, and sometimes Home leaves places we found it before. Home is and it isn’t; it is given and taken away. Home is in the company of my family. Home is by the side of my childhood friend. Home is up a tree or down a river. Home is in all the books that speak the things of my soul I can’t write myself. Home is the feeling of raw belonging I feel in those blue Appalachians, the belonging I felt when the wind tried to blow me off the cliff. It would seem that Home does not equal a place, but is found IN a place, or a person, or a situation, and it can be taken out of wherever it is in. And all of these little bits of Home that I find only serve to comfort me for a moment. And their comfort is in that they remind me that Home does exist, as an absolute, as a whole; that I belong somewhere, with someone.