Depending on how you look at it, I am a person with many homes or with no home. Perhaps I am a person looking for a home, or perhaps I call “home” what is more accurately “place”. Is home where you are or is home how you feel?
Home is clearly more than house, but there are times when home is indeed also house. And there are times when home has no house. Home can be forest, mountain, water, and here, home is a feeling. Can the feeling also be a place? Can a place be a home?
If I have many homes, it is because home is people, not places. But not every place with people is a home, nor do all homes rely on people. Does bringing people to a place make it a home? Perhaps not, but the community that comes from the people can be a home.
If I have many homes, it is because home is a feeling, not a location. I can feel at home in different literal places when my heart can settle in a figurative place. To say that I feel at home with you means you and not where you happen to be. So I can feel at home with you within, despite, or regardless of the place.
Or do I have no home? I can be homeless without being houseless, a person who has a physical place but no sense of warmth, of love, of affection and affinity. If I have lost my connection to home, that means I have lost connection. And what does that mean for who I am? If connection comes from relating with others and the world around us, does losing home mean losing identity? And without identity, who am I?
Depending on how you look at it, I am a person with many homes or with no home. I am deeply rooted to something I cannot articulate but am never without, a sense of belonging to the trees and sky, mountains and ocean. I do not need to be out in the world to understand that, but I need to be out in the world to feel grounded in my own body. And at the same time, I seek to lose the body to become part of the world.
In this sense, I am at home in the world.
But to be home in the world does not mean being alone in it.
So home is people, not places. I do not need to know a place to feel belonging, but to know people. By this I mean the know that is tied up in care, the know that means I will share my delights and sorrows with you because, if I feel at home with you, I believe you want to know.
But home can also be found in places themselves, because to find a home is to connect with a soul. The soul of a place is a feeling and we feel places. This is how we choose where to wander and where to settle, where to explore and where to retreat. If we are able to see the soul of a place, perhaps we understand it in a way that allows us to call it a home.
In this sense, home merely is. Home exists. Home is there. Sometimes we are there, too, and sometimes home is waiting to be found.
It has been a long time since I’ve been home, and in the interim I’ve occupied many homes. Literal homes, figurative homes, shared homes, solitary homes.
Perhaps my preoccupation with home comes from a constant search for one, or perhaps from always knowing there is inherently more than one. Perhaps it’s less a preoccupation and more a vested interest, one that comes from life circumstances I never could have imagined but that, at the same time, were always lying dormant and waiting. Or maybe it’s a simple awareness of language. I cannot wait to go home, said when I am clearly at home. Welcome home, said when I coming from home.
It took years, I remember her saying, before I stopped referring to this city as home. And then I realized that my life was somewhere else and that that was my home.
This is undoubtedly logical. But if this is the case, how can I say I’m going home? And how can I then be welcomed home to multiple places?
And so I search further. I search from the security of a place that I call home, a place made up of people who hold, care, and love, and who know that it is not the search that is important, but the discoveries that are part of searching.
And I search because I like to ask questions and I like to find answers. I am curious when I am safe, and I am safe when I am home.