06 November 2010

Longing for home

I have dozens of posts started, many delving into sociological, physiological, existential, religious, interpersonal, or other questions, analyses, and musings. I have audio entry after audio entry I've been meaning to transcribe or post. I've been typing out old journal entries and musing on some of my observations and surprises from ten years ago. I have experiences to share, a story to put together. But most of it seems unimportant tonight because tonight...I just have a feeling, and it's one that threads back to simpler times of childhood.

It's a chilly, damp night here, and I can hear the rain pattering outside. Classic autumn weather for this region. I was going to meet some friends, but after a night "in" with my nieces, I was dragging my feet. I fell asleep on the floor next to my cat...well, now my brother's family's cat since about 4 years ago. He'd rather stalk you than cuddle you most of the time, so I just laid down a foot or so away from him where he could be aloof and disinterested. I woke up after a nap and decided I wasn't going anywhere. The kids were getting ready for bed, so I made a hot cup of hibiscus pomegranate herbal tea, went downstairs to my "lair" (basement of my brother's house), changed into red plaid flannel PJ bottoms and a comfy brown sweater, and wondered what book I might read. No career planning, no budgeting, no IMing, no photo editing, blogging (oops), or stressing about what else I might be doing or whether my friends are having fun I'm missing out on. Just nestling in and getting all snuggied up for the night.

What struck me, as I got all comfy, was that I am yearning for "home". When I was a child, my family's house was home. It was what I knew, what I grew up with. It was familiar, comfortable, secure...it was me. I was it. Everything was attached to a memory, everything was "ours". Now, I want my own home. I want my own little block of the world, filled with my stuff and my memories. I want my fireplace, and I want my blanket to wrap up in on my couch, not one I'm mooching. I want my choices of artwork, my reflections, my photos, my books, my tools. Or ours. I have to admit that when I felt this yearning for "home", what most readily stood out was the idea of me getting all cozy along with someone special who is my home. Settling in for the night after a day's work, household chores, and family duties to read in our chairs in the evening after the kids (if any) have gone to sleep, or to bundle up together as a couple or as a family in our flannel jammies for a movie and hot chocolate and sourdough toast fingers or to sip herbal tea with my partner/spouse and talk about nothing important, or our goals for the week, or plans, or the kids' activities. But even if there's not a family or a special someone, I want a real, tangible "home" of my own, someplace I toil to make comfortable, clean, and secure.

Maybe this is a passing feeling. Maybe I'll be back to my nomadic ways and abstract notions of home tomorrow morning. Maybe the grass is greener. Maybe it's the autumn triggering treasured childhood memories. Maybe it's the juxtaposition of simpler perspectives and current complexities. Maybe it's living with my brother's family again. Maybe it's job-hunting and budgeting and planning for the future. Maybe it's recent reminders of the ways I felt so "at home" with [him]. Maybe it's a little of all of the above. But tonight, I'm remembering, and longing for, and planning towards, and looking forward to...home.

For now, back to that carefree nestling on a mooched couch...


Ned said...

Beautifully written! It sent me in search of this quotation: "A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it." -George Moore.

And it reminded me of this song from my teens:

I'll light the fire
You put the flowers in the vase
That you bought today

Staring at the fire
For hours and hours
While I listen to you
Play your love songs
All night long for me
Only for me

Come to me now
And rest your head for just five minutes
Everything is good
Such a cosy room
The windows are illuminated
By the sunshine through them
Fiery gems for you
Only for you

Our house is a very, very fine house
With two cats in the yard
Life used to be so hard
Now everything is easy
'Cause of you
And our la,la,la, la,la, la, la, la, la, la, la.....

Our house is a very, very fine house
With two cats in the yard
Life used to be so hard
Now everything is easy
'Cause of you
And Our

I'll light the fire
And you place the flowers in the jar
That you bought today

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

The Impossible K said...

Autumn does this to ya every year doesn't it? Well, I sincerely hope you do find a "home" soon - although carefree nestling on a mooched couch ain't so bad. At least you get free rent in a great area :)

Original Mohomie said...

ImpossibleK, it does to some degree or another, yep. This year's a bit different in the manifestation, I think. But...yeah. :-)

Ned, I appreciate your thoughts, and I totally know that song. Made me smile to see you quote it.

jimf said...

> What struck me, as I got all comfy, was that I am
> yearning for "home". When I was a child, my family's
> house was home. It was what I knew, what I grew up with.
> It was familiar, comfortable, secure...it was me.
> I was it. Everything was attached to a memory, everything
> was "ours".

This reminds me a bit of a portion of a letter that J. R. R. Tolkien
wrote to his son Christopher during World War II.

From _Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien_, No. 96 (To Christopher Tolkien,
30 January 1945, pp. 109 - 111):

"As for Eden, I think most Christians, except
the v. simple and uneducated or those protected
in other ways, have been rather bustled and
hustled now for some generations by the self-
styled scientists, and they've sort of tucked
Genesis into a lumber-room of their mind as
not very fashionable furniture, a bit ashamed
to have it about the house, don't you know,
when the bright clever young people called: I
mean, of course, even the fideles who did not
sell it secondhand or burn it as soon as modern
taste began to sneer. . .

But partly as a development of my own thought on my
lines and work (technical and literary), partly
in contact with C.S.L.,. . . I do not now feel either
ashamed or dubious on the Eden ‘myth’. It has not,
of course, historicity of the same kind as the NT, which are
virtually contemporary documents, while Genesis is separated
by we do not know how how many sad exiled generations
from the Fall, but certainly there was an Eden on this
very unhappy earth. We all long for it, and we are
constantly glimpsing it: our whole nature at its best
and least corrupted, its gentlest and most humane, is
still soaked with the sense of ‘exile’. If you come
to think of it, your. . . obstinate memory of
this ‘home’ of yours in an idyllic hour (when often
there is an illusion of the stay of time and decay
and a sense of gentle peace) -- eithe genoimen,
[Greek ‘would that I were’ (there) ]
'stands the clock at ten to three, and is there
honey still for tea[?]' [*] -- are derived from Eden.
As far as we can go back the nobler part of the
human mind is filled with the thoughts of _sibb_,
peace and goodwill, and with the thought of its
loss. We shall never recover it, for that is not the
way of repentance, which works spirally and not in
a closed circle; we may recover something like it,
but on a higher plane. . ."

I love both Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, particularly the former,
but I do not believe the world "works that way".

Tolkien continues in the same letter:

"Still I think there will be a 'millennium', the prophesied
thousand-year rule of the Saints, i.e. those who have for all their
imperfections never finally bowed heart and will to
the world or the evil spirit (in modern but not
universal terms: mechanism, 'scientific' materialism,
Socialism in either of its factions now at war)."

I'm afraid that by Tolkien's lights I would indeed be one of
those who have bowed head to the "Iron Crown"
(of Morgoth, the Devil of Tolkien's mythology).

[*] The whole Rupert Brooke poem that Tolkien was alluding to
in that letter, "The Old Vicarage, Grantchester", is at:

The overall ironic tone of the poem is not quite what you
might expect from the single quoted line.