12 October 2007

Home?

Nine years ago, I became voluntarily homeless and hit the road, traveling 15,000 miles solo across 29 states and 4 provinces, searching for what I took to calling “Capital-H Home.” My new book, Following Raven, Finding Ground: A Road Trip in Search of Home, is the story of this journey, told through journal entries, dreams, and letters I wrote along the way.

But what is Home? While on the road, having hit an emotional bottom, I posed this question to my family and friends. Mostly they responded with well-worn clich├ęs: that home is inside of you, or home is where you make it. Yes, I answered, but how do you know where you want to make it? Eventually I defined my own criteria – a cool, coastally-influenced climate along the Pacific Northwest with people of like mind (left-leaning, spiritual, environmentalists) and an artsy culture, not too crowded, where people have a sense of community and I can see the stars at night.

I’ve found that place – have settled down on 3 acres, spent 8 years with one guy (the longest I’ve ever been with a sweetie), and built my business and reputation within the community. By all appearances, I’ve done a very good job of finding, and creating, Home.

And yet.

And yet, I think there is another layer of Home that I’ve never found, and for this I feel sorrow.

Home is place and community and friendships – yes. But I think Home is also the deep connection, the intimacy of sharing one’s life with a best-est friend, with a mate, with children. None of which I’ve ever managed to create in my life. Yes, I have a few good friends (most of whom live at least 200 miles away), lots of friendly acquaintances, and I have my sweetie. But I long for a bosom buddy, a sister – a best-est girlfriend. I’ve never had one. (A psychic once told me that my best friend wasn’t in body this time around.) And I long for a husband, a partner and mate, which my sweetie cannot be for me. (As for children – well, I do prefer cats … )

I imagine that the home we find in deep relationship soothes the loneliness of life, that loneliness that makes me want to cry wordless tears, wishing someone in my world understood and would just hold me and stroke my hair for a while until the lonely blues passed and I could return to being the strong, competent, (etc. etc.) woman people know me to be.

I’ve had a recurring dream for 25 years now, the basic theme of which is this: I find myself living at either my mother’s house or my old apartment in Oakland (it differs from dream to dream), aware that I have a life and home of my own somewhere else, but unable to remember where that is. Recently, in the dream I am able to vaguely recall that I have a place in the country someplace north, but that it’s been a while since I’ve been home and I’m not sure what condition it’s in or even really where it is. For 25 years, I’ve felt lost and confused, trying to remember something and being unable to. But what am I unable to remember, to find? What is this home that I’ve been dreaming of for so many years?

Ideas are welcomed…

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