When I say I’m going home, the place I mean varies a lot depending on who I’m talking to and where I am at the time. At the end of a day volunteering at the Restore, I go home to my house in Red Deer. I take off my shoes, put up my feet, pour a glass of wine, and I’m home.
When I go to California for the winter, I will be going home to a place that inspires me to be more socially active, to engage in the community more often, and to exercise more. That home plucks at different strings in my heart.
Next month I’m going home to the UK. Home in this context is the country of my birth. It is where most of my family live. When I go home to England, there are shared looks, easily understood gestures, familiar phrases and intonations, and stories that have been retold so often that they have become fiction.
When I am in England, my family has a shared concept of 357 as home. That is the number of the house in which my siblings and I were all raised, and even though it was sold many years ago that house number still resonates with all of us. It’s also the number I use on my lock at the gym.
After I left the home of my childhood, I lived in numerous places. I am, in fact, still working on crocheted curtains for a home I lived in three houses ago. All of those bedsitting rooms, apartments, duplexes, and single-family houses have been my homes for a while, and all conjure up memories.
To some extent I have been a different person in each of those homes. That is because they were at different stages of my development and met the needs of those times. When I was sharing my home with someone, my personality accommodated theirs. Sometimes that has been easy, sometimes not. Sometimes I liked who I became, and sometimes I didn’t. Now that I am living alone again, I can be entirely independent, which can mean being lazy and selfish. It can also mean being creative and adventurous.
Are the homes in my heart representative of who I am, or am I a representation of where I have lived? The fact that “home” can mean so many different buildings, cities, and countries to me means that home is anywhere where a part of me is free to explore. Chameleon-like, I change according to my environment.
It’s not that I’m rootless, exactly. It’s more that I have too many roots. I’m less like a sturdy oak and more like harebells. You have to look down and around, not up, to see who I am. (The harebells in my garden are spreading like crazy!)
According to the Canadian Wildlife Federation’s gardening website:
“You can also try making new plants by layering the stems of existing ones. This encourages the plant to keep its existing roots while developing roots at another part of the stem, thereby, allowing you to split the original plant into two separate plants. …The stem will grow new roots at which point you can sever it from the main plant.”
I was separated from my main plant (home) a long time ago, but the homes in my heart have been layered on the stems of previous homes.
[With thanks to Paintandbooks and Dovegirl from Wednesday Night Coffee Talk for inspiring these thoughts.]