The sun was setting in the west and our planet was tilted on its axis in a manner so that the hemisphere I live in was farther away from the sun as I drove my car to pick my daughter up. The air was cool but not chilly so I had the windows down and the autumn scents filled my nostrils with the earthy sweet smell of decay and overrode the scent of exhaust from the vehicles I was sharing the road with.
The sun was low on the horizon and the sky was remarkably crisp in its clearness. A few cirrus clouds dotted the rich blue hue of our atmosphere and I smiled. The clearness reminded me of my days in the Navy when my ship was at sea, all our work was finished for the day and I’d find a quite place to sit outside with a book and a cigarette and relax in the glory of just being.
As I scanned the sky I was surprised to see the air filled with vapor trails. More than a dozen filled my view as I counted, even more appeared. Jets filled with people traveling from point a to point b across our country. Across our globe.
Where were they going?
Who were they?
Why are they traveling?
Which is when I remembered that the holiday season is upon us and many of those travelers were heading home to see loved ones and not so loved ones and enjoy or at least try to enjoy, the place that helped make them who and what they are.
What is home? Where is home? Who helps create our home?
It seems, to me that is, the mythical place known as home, is an ever changing place. As well, it is a place that seems to move from one geographical location to another, almost random geographical place.
Home is a place, as a child, we rush to get to when we’ve had a good day at school to show of our grades. It is a place to run to when we’ve had a bad day outside and are in pain. A place where we receive praise and comfort, a place where we can hide from the boogey man and a place where our imaginations are born out of fear, disappointment, success and love.
Home is a place, as a teenager, where we try to run away from because of shame or embarrassment. A place where we only feel safe in one, lonely room where the curtains are always drawn and the window will never open. It is a place where we learn how to speak out against what we feel is wrong. A place where what we believe is true, is never really true. A place where we learn that sometimes, what we dream will never come true. It is also the place where we learn to hone and shape our dreams into what we one day hope will come true.
Home is a place where as an adult, we leave behind. We venture forth into the world in an attempt to make our own home. Be that home a shitty, one bedroom apartment on the seedy side of town as you work an even shittier, menial job, or a dorm room in college where you spend endless frustrating hours trying to cram as much knowledge into your booze soaked and sleep denied brain as possible or even on a large, gray Naval vessel with one thousand other men who are on a mission of peace by force under a renegade president.
Yes, homes change for various reasons. They are like the ether that way. Always shifting, always moving, always fluid, always just out of your true physical reach and yet, always within you. In a place you can never quite understand and never quite tangibly grasp with your hands.
Home is a place you think you are leaving when you walk out of one parent’s house, get in the car of another parent and take the almost eternal drive to their new home. A building that is as alien to you as the earth beneath your feet is foreign to a fish in the ocean. Yet, slowly and eventually, that new place soon becomes a second home to your young mind. A home that can chase away the bitter tears of loneliness and confusion at the actions of adults as the car ride becomes shorter and shorter with each commute.
Home becomes a place you make yourself. A place where you are comfortable in your own skin and with your own random thoughts that you believe prove you are as crazy as everyone says you are. It is a place where you place your memories, a place where you build new memories and it is a place that transcends the chasm between the physical world and the unseen, earth real world of intangibility.
Home can be a place of great stress and great comfort at the same time. It is a place of constant growth, in both birth and death. Home is a place of contradictions, illogical thinking and behavior and a place where we know we will eventually be accepted and loved. A place where the stress put up on us in our lives away from home can be miniscule when compared to the stress we put upon each other when we are home. Yet, we wouldn’t give our home up for anything or anyone.
Home, it is where you are and where you are going as well as the place you just left. We all can be home wherever we are if we just take a few moments, calm and stead ourselves by changing our thinking and realize, we all are trying to get to the same place even if that place is not in the same location. We share that with our fellow travelers.
I can only hope, that all those people who are traveling realize this and maybe, while stuck on a tarmac somewhere or at a stoplight or even in a traffic jam, that they are truly not alone. Everyone wants to be with their own loved ones in their own home.
Have a great week.