Archive for November, 2015
Wondering: where is home? What is home?
Home is where you are safe. Home is the warm place.
Home is where you do not feel afraid.
(Maybe home can be anywhere?)
Maybe home is the feeling of your baby falling asleep heavy in your arms,
or the feeling implanted into your consciousness
when you hiccuped in your mother’s womb, and she laughed
and then started talking to you, words a rumble of unintelligible love filtered through amniotic fluid.
The world is an overwhelming place. Bad things happen. Evil things.
(Maybe home is nowhere? There are many without a home. Maybe there is no home?)
No. Home exists. I’ve felt it.
Home is where love happens, any place you can unclench your jaw, relax, be unguarded.
Home is a friend cooking beans, home is a cup of lemon tea, a hug.
A place to seek hope, a place to dream, a place to find courage, a place to build strength.
Home is the rustle of wind in the drying, dying leaves during a silent walk.
Home is in the wide-open smile of the guy at the car wash
and the have-a-good-one from the tired cashier at Kroger.
Home is the smell of sweet potatoes roasting in a hot oven.
Home is having an oven, and a sweet potato, and a knife.
(Maybe home is a story we tell ourselves, so we don’t give up?)
Because the world is an overwhelming place, and bad things happen.
Every single day, somewhere. Bad.
Every single minute. Evil.
Things beyond fixing.
Things you cannot fix.
Things you have to try to help fix, anyway. Somehow.
(In the right sort of home, courage is born, change is born, hope is born?)
I want to find a home like that. Make one. Somehow.
Maybe home comes and goes, waxes and wanes
like the sliver of moon shining over the parking lot
brighter than anything else in the vast sky above?
Loading groceries into my car, I suddenly remember how it felt to be pregnant.
I was a home, then, walking.
We all begin in such a home.
Maybe home is where hope hiccups, somewhere deep within,
waiting for us to laugh again?
Have you ever wanted to be inside and outside at once?
Wished to be there and here?
Missed what you have, while you still have it?
Mourned the lost summer and the looming winter
while outside the leaves
blaze like a bonfire—
the kind of bonfire that makes Ted,
the actuarial guy two houses down,
pace nervously back and forth
past your place,
cellphone in hand, ready to call 911
while you are inside at your desk, looking out
at your other self who’s out there
willy-nilly feeding the flames
and how the you scribbling away, pen bleeding
and the you whose face is pinky-red radiant—
how both of you itch for Ted to get lost
and let you get on with this business of longing
that consumes you completely
like the leaves today,
flaring in the five o’clock sun
I’ve been drunk-binging on nature lately, pulled from my grind-screen work and what I ‘should’ be doing to spend hours just gazing at the wonders of the fall. I end up working way too late to compensate, but you can only see the foliage in the daylight.
Such transformation is amazing. It gives me hope. As in, “I am living in a miracle world, pure, uncut amazing! Anything might happen!”
Well. It’s not all Indian summer breezes, after all. Nope. It’s a world awash in constant pain. Turn on the news or read the stream or listen to the couple behind you in line for a burrito sniping at each other–pain, pain, pain; see the face of the worn-looking woman waiting for the bus, see how a knotted thread of anxiety is pulling her features toward the center of her face, into a pinch of ache. She’s in pain, emotional, physical, spiritual–it doesn’t matter what kind of pain, does it? She’s a human, and she’s hurting.
This week I read a story in the New York Times about an Italian marathon-runner, and not an experienced or well-trained one, who came to New York to run. He was with a loosely-organized group of Italians. He spoke no English. Somewhere along the route of the marathon, he dropped his small amount of cash, along with his hotel key-card and his subway map.
He went missing for around 48 hours, wandering New York in his running clothes, disheveled, hungry, alone. Unable to communicate. After running a whole marathon, so he must’ve been flat-out depleted. He made his way, somehow, to the airport, knowing his group would be flying out the next day. Security kicked him out, because they thought he was homeless.
A policeman noticed him on the subway the next day, and realized he was the missing foreigner.
According to Office Yam, “He kept turning and looking to the map. He seemed like he was under duress, like he happened to be lost or not knowing where he was going.” Thanks to the officer’s alertness, the hapless marathoner was saved. Happiness! Truly, it was a joyful ending to what must have been a terrifying experience for him.
Still, no mention in the news article of all the actual homeless people who are disheveled, hungry, alone and unable to communicate, who also do not know where they are going, and who are moved along and cursed at and rarely rescued. They have no group to join, it seems. Imagine the marathoner, wandering weak and scared for two whole days. Now imagine wandering—indefinitely. In the cold, in the rain. In the days that come after this golden time ends.
Sometimes I just want to not want to help, to care, to crave, to feel at all. Because I don’t know how to fix it. I can barely manage myself.
But then: the trees.
The trees are divine spirits. They won’t let me fade into numb oblivion. They remind me that no matter what else is going on, no matter what hurts or what is messed up—that beauty is there, not caring if I eat it up or ignore it, but there all the same. Doesn’t that mean something? I take a picture. I feel pleased, and then sort of shallow at the rush of pleasure all this beauty brings. My inner scold chides me. A picture of an amazing blazing autumn afternoon won’t heal the world.
A little voice says it might heal some tiny corner of it.
It might remind someone— someone who gets lost fighting things she cannot change—to remember to appreciate the gift of being in this world, on this day. To breathe this autumn air, and feel gratitude.
And maybe that is a tiny little start?
It’s not nearly enough, but you have to begin where you are, and work up from there.
“Hope without power is no match for fear with power.” –Caroline Myss
Maybe if we empower our hopes, there will be a little less fear in the world?