Saturday, July 2, 2011

Home Thoughts From Abroad, Part X: Reprise

It was raining a little, as we got ready to leave Denmark.

It was also raining when we arrived, and such is the way of the Danish summer. I remember a local joke from when I was little... the Dane who shrugs and tells the tourist who's complaining about the weather "Well... summer fell on a Tuesday, this year."

I came to realize-- during this visit-- why I moved to Western Washington, and why the relative gray coolness and rain of the greater Seattle area doesn't bother me; it is very much like "Denmark with mountains." In some way, this corner of the US feels like "home," at least in the physical sense of the word. The light is the right "color" here. The trees and plants look and smell right. There is water and islands everywhere. There is a (hard to describe) "gentleness" of the land and people here that I have not found elsewhere in the US.

In Denmark, we have a saying that goes "Øst, vest, hjemme bedst."

Literally translated, it means "East, west... home is best," and is ultimately a commentary on travel, and how we find rest in the place we feel is our home.

I am a global nomad-- I was raised and have lived all over the world. As such, I have an easy time settling, wherever I am. Doesn't mean I feel at home there, just that I can easily adapt and fit in. France, Spain, Kenya, Texas...

What is "home," though?

Perhaps it is a state of mind, not a place. Perhaps it is only "a place" to the degree that a series of small vignettes of life; little slices of good times in different places-- make them feel like home. My aunt's house in Denmark (where we stayed) feels like "home," but only to a degree... since she is no longer there; only the memories of her there linger. Denmark feels like "home" when I eat certain foods there. Spain feels like home when I walk on certain beaches and see snow on the coastal mountains.

Port Townsend, Washington is now home. But it's only home to the extent that I choose to embrace it as such... not because I lived there in my youth, nor because I moved there, nor because it's a really cool place, nor because Sarah and I now own house there, together.

"Home," is-- in some way-- a fleeting feeling, or perhaps a series of brief moments in which the chaos of life arranges itself in such a way that we feel like-- in that moment-- we are connected to something, and belong. In my case, I now know that it is deeply a reflection of whom I am sharing those moments with, and the places themselves serve more as a kind of window dressing that makes everything crisper; more in focus; more beautiful.

As I consider that, maybe it could be said that home is Love, and Love is home... if you have found the right person to share your moments with.

In end, perhaps that's the key.

Our quest to find "home" reflects our desire to feel deeply connected to something/someone outside ourselves... someone (or something) that allows-- even if just for a moment-- to feel like we "belong."

I have that sense of belonging, and I feel blessed that she is in my life.

And that... makes me feel home...

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