What is home?
Is home necessarily a physical place? Is home a state of being? Does it have emotions? Is it linear or does it witness change? Does home move like a river, characterized by its ebb and flow? Is it ever elusive?
When we think of the answer to a commonly asked question, “So, where’s home?” we automatically spout where we live, a street name, a neighborhood name, perhaps. Where we reside now may not necessarily be our home. Home could be where you were born, established roots, even grew up. Is home a permanent place? Can we ever say anything is permanent?
As a young girl, I considered home to be on Carlisle. With my birch tree accessorizing the short walk from the driveway to the front door, my birch buddy welcomed me and all who traveled there. My home was a place I learned to ride my bike with Mr. Schafer as my teacher. I established friends along my street and on streets off Carlisle. I would meet them in the neighborhood and then again in school. It was the place I always returned to after Mom called my name to come home. The kitchen was part of my home and where I could get a peanut butter and fluffernutter sandwich on white bread. A big cookie jar sat conspicuously on the counter where I knew I could find a warm chocolate chip cookie just stacked by my mom. My home was always the place where I did fun things like have birthday parties or where I went to feel safe after I didn’t do well on my test at school.
My bedroom was my home. I had a walk-in closet where I felt the depth endless marked by ample pole length to hang my clothes. It was narrow enough to feel embraced at the shoulders, yet the ceiling was tall as it could ever be, open and untouchable. I often sat on the yellow and white shag carpeted floor which added color to the starkness the white walls revealed. I was secure when I talked with my creative mind surrounded by my Etch-A-Sketch, Light Bright and a plastic briefcase that opened up as a study desk with art supplies. My large shoebox filled with crayons was nestled near the door in the corner next to my Singer Genie sewing machine. Knitting and crochet needles stuck out of an old canvas bag that also corralled multiple colored yarns and projects in varying stages of completion. It sat on the macramé box stuffed with a few colors and thicknesses of cord, and a box of t-pins. This world was a microcosm within the house on Carlisle and became the Petri dish that started the development of me.
Home is not synonymous with permanence. Nothing is permanent just as life is not linear. I could never really go back to home as it is and never will be as it once was when I stood next to my birch tree waiting for my picture to be taken. Home is static and reflects a state of being in a snapshot just as a picture records those precise minutes of that particular time of day.
I like what young American writer, Danzy Senna, had to say about home. “It’s funny. When you leave your home and wander really far, you always think, ‘I want to go home.’ But then you come home, and of course it’s not the same. You can’t live with it; you can’t live away from it. And it seems like from then on there’s always this yearning for some place that doesn’t exist. I felt that. Still do. I’m never completely at home anywhere.”