What does home mean, when everything is relative?
Robert Frost is supposed to have said or written, “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.”
What if you don’t have that sense anywhere?
Someone asked, What if home is wherever you are? Yes, yes, that’s ideal: but where is home if you don’t yet have that sense within yourself, if you haven’t yet crafted a substitute within your own body?
(What if home isn’t a place? I know, I get it: home is an idea, an ideal, a sense of being, not any physicality. But what if I want it to be? What if I still have that movie-screen fantasy of the place you go and immediately relax into, feel welcomed in, know yourself to belong in — that house, that familiarity, the place that was always yours. What to do with that desire, any desire, when it’s impossible to attain?)
There’s more here; I’ll keep coming back to it.
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There were Monarch butterflies everywhere during my time home, back in Nebraska. It’s their season. They danced around me, reminding me of their orange-and-black majesty, how I adored them when I was little. That small visual, a monarch opening its enormous wings, its black and white body perched on a wild onion flower, or hanging off the salvia, while the cicadas throbbed the air around me and the crickets and grasshoppers snagged all the rest of the space with their scratchy songs and the humidity stickied my skin: That’s a little piece of home. That lives in my blood and memory. I carry that always with me, and when I see it again, have the sense of being allowed in — so maybe there is some of Robert Frost’s home for me, too. Is home a cobbled together thing, something stitched and piecemeal? How could it be anything but?
I tried to take a picture of every monarchI saw. That’s a good vacation, I think.
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What about this as a prompt: Home is the place where… Just begin with that.
Write it over and over, if you want, completing it anew with every rewrite. Notice what comes for you, for your writing self, as you read the phrase, as you copy it into your notebook, as you begin, and let yourself follow that inspiration and pull. Write whatever comes, and follow your writing wherever it seems to want you to go.
Give yourself 10 minutes, at least.
Thank you for your majesty, your fierce tenderness with the beauty around you, for your kindness, your persistence, your words.