Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Yes You Can Go Home Again, More or Less

It is early morning and I am back. Back at my house on the lake. Back here in Milledgeville, where I lived three years ago. Back at my loft perch overlooking the blue-green water through big, triangular windows.

For four years I have been a nomad, living out of a few suitcases, moving from state to state, from New York to Georgia to New York to Florida. And now I'm back. I'm home. 

Here are my books on the shelves, here are my paintings on the walls. Here are my cups and saucers behind cabinet doors and hanging from hooks over the stove. Here are my pans and my potholders. Here are my rugs, my blankets, my towels. 

What is home if not a feeling? It's both more and less than all the things that belong to us, and the place where we keep them. Isn't it? And yet even with all my things gathered here, there are still parts of me "living" in other places, in other cities, in other states, in other worlds. Part of me is still in storage in the past; while another part of me books rooms in future motels. For sure there is such a thing as home but it exists simultaneously in many places, and we can never occupy them all at once, and so we always feel a little torn apart, a little unpacked, a little displaced, a little unresolved. 

Each day here begins with a swim. I put on one of three bathing suits (each with its own hook), grab my towel and goggles and go down to the dock. I greet the water. Hello, water. I climb down the rusty ladder. In the mornings the water surface is mirror-like and cool. I taste its sweetness against my lips. I swim out across the inlet. One-hundred and ninety-three strokes. I've counted them. 

When I get to the other side I stand in the sandy shallows. Often I'll come upon a heron who does his fishing there on the piney shore, camouflaged by a tangle of gray roots. Once I came within several yards of him before he saw me--this strange creature with a yellow head rising out of the green water. His wings spread wide as he soared away. 

I keep three swimsuits so that one will be reasonably dry at any time during the day. 

And what do I have to say for myself now that I've arrived here at last, now that I'm finally "home"? What does it mean? 

I want to say I feel at home here, but what is closer to truth is that my loneliness feels at home here: that if I'm destined to be lonesome, then here is as good a place as any, maybe the perfect place.