Thursday 28 August 2008

Home

There was a post asking about 'home' on Clusterflock lately, and I found myself making a long comment reply. Here is the question, and this is what I wrote:

I've been living nomadically for a while. Right now I'm in the south east corner of Clare, Ireland. I am planning to travel to New York again soon. It's a question of layers of meaning, layers of what I could call 'reasons'. I overheard two people talking about where they lived a few days ago, and one of them said, "ah well, if it's home, it's home". I found this to be as wise and deep as anything I have ever heard on the subject.

Sometimes you just end up where you end up, and it doesn't feel like home at all. I lived in Denmark for three and a half years, feeling like that pretty much all the time. It was absolutely where I lived, and I learned the language, and made homes there, moved through the culture, but I was never settled there. Every flat I lived in had a quality of 'just for a couple of months' about it, often written into the contract. I worked on an entirely freelance basis. Having lived in a number of different cultures, I think that home for me will always be a multiple of places, that I return to, regularly.

What I've learned is that finding love and engagement in and for the place you live in is an important thing, and there is no 'perfect place'. If it's home, it's home, and you enjoy the good things and deal with the bad ones. When the bad ones overwhelm the good ones, you do everything you can do to move. Usually the blend is more nuanced than 'good' and 'bad'.

Sometimes you just can't leave a place until your time there is done. I am still living on a 'couple of months' kind of basis, whether here in Clare, or Barcelona where I spent most of the summer, or New York which I am electronically connected to daily, or Denmark which I have left but whose influence I can still feel, or Dublin where I lived for a long time and which is a rich seam of memory for me, or the internet where I spend so much of my time. It is not restlessness. It is the circumstances of my sense of home. It is a constantly evolving circumstance.

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