How many homes do you have?
I am not referring to how many properties you own, or else I would have nothing to speak of!
Here we are talking about homes.
Laying on my back in my garden underneath 2pm sunshine with my eyes closed: warmth on my eyelids, face, forearms, ankles and feet; seagulls call; bumblebee buzzing past.
It feels like home; like Australia-home: the heat and the sounds of summer approaching.
Then a British March breeze slices across my bare toes, the winter-scorched brunette hedge rustles dryly and I’m reminded where I am: Britain; my other home. I move into the sunroom, the perfect mid-season option: outdoors-in.
If you Google the word ‘home’, the adjective meaning is “home: relating to the place where one lives”. The noun meaning is “Home: the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household”.
I’m someone who has struggled with that word: ‘permanently’. The word ‘home’ I get on board with very quickly. I have had many homes; adjective versions. I have lived in many places, made a loving home multiple times. But now when I read the definitions of home I notice myself respond to the word ‘permanently’. It feels restrictive, constraining, improbable. Buddhist mantras I previously chanted ring true through my body: ‘impermanence surrounds us, impermanence surrounds us’. Perhaps those teachings provided me with peace when everything in life was indeed constantly changing – nothing lasts forever so enjoy this moment.
Yet ultimately within the impermanence we need grounding; protective safe Homes; permanent in some way because they will always be there.
For a while there the pandemic stole the idea of Australia as a home I could always return to. This is still a trauma that is hard to explain, deep feelings that are starting to re-surface as my partner and I prepare for our trip to Aus. It was like floating; not being able to go home. Like the cliché of no anchor. No roots. Not that I couldn’t reach the ground, but that there was none to reach for. I remember half way through the two year border closure, in May 2021, the Australian Prime Minister announced ‘indefinite border closure’ and the ‘zero Covid’ policy. While England was coming out of it’s final lockdown and seeing family, slowly returning to ‘normal’, the pain of forced separation was deepened for Australians overseas; indefinite closure: no end in sight to this harsh protective divisive practice; this floating. It was hard to align my head and heart; the protection of others versus the heartache of separation.
As we prepare for our trip, I get teary at the thought of the plane touching down after flying over terracotta roofs; cant even think of hugging family and friends as my lungs expand while my breathing tightens. Just have to focus on the practicalities of getting on the plane Covid-free.
Here has become my home too. I’m a dual citizen now, or as a writing friend chose to hear it, a ‘jewel’ citizen. Despite the last two years of doom, and in many ways because of it, I have come out the other side with a lovely home with my lovely man and the option of living two lives simultaneously across the planet; my self split but part of a bigger whole.
I must respect my privilege and luck, especially as we know Ukrainian homes are being horrifically destroyed. However that’s a much bigger experience which I can’t do justice to in my own words.
Tiktok-er @callhercarlotta said it poetically in her post about being away from her pacific island home, wondering about the meaning of ‘home’. She proposed that “home is the only place where the air feels right”.
I pray that everyone finds a place where the air feels right; feels safe; feels permanent in its impermanence. I found here and I am lucky to call on the peace of this place; the hamlets of healing; the nondemanding bluebells; the gentle house in a village where I have found my second home, whether its adjective or noun.
Where does the air feel right for you?