"you can't go home again..."
the title of Thomas Wolf's book that has sent my thoughts on roads so long, so unexpected they often get lost. And now, the title of this new blog. It seems a rather parasitic fascination for the idea of "home" has settled, unshakeable, on my heart. I imagine this is because I have had to redefine what home is so many times in the past few years.
As you probably already know, I recently moved back to the U.S. after having lived in Senegal, West Africa. Leaving home was surprisingly easy. You give hugs, tell people you love them and then put your foot forward. It's amazing how stepping into a plane, taking a seat and then a LONG nap finds you in a place so unfamiliar, so unlike anything you have ever known. Teleportation. While living in Senegal I consumed myself with making it my home. Learn the language. Understand the culture. Love the music. Know my neighbors. Don't get lost. Haggle like a pro in the market. Take the bus. Or the donkey cart. Eventually I wandered the streets in elation, feeling as if everything made sense and everything was in its right place. Home.
Of course I never forgot where I came from. My mind traveled there at least once a day. But I quickly began to realize that "home" was a frozen memory. As each day passed my memory of home and the reality of home became more and more incongruous. It's a bit unsettling when your memory of something doesn't match what it truly is. I even began to see time's slow change in me.
"It disturbed him vaguely, as one is always disturbed and shaken by the sudden realization of Time's changes in something that one has known all one's life."
It was at this point that truth settled heavily on my heart. I, truly, could never go home again. At least not the home that I had left. The truth hurt for awhile. The happy feelings one associates with homecoming were tossed broken across the floor.
"And he never had the sense of home so much as when he felt that he was going there. It was only when he got there that his homelessness began."
But then, what an exciting place to be. Homeless. On a road with no set course and no set destination. With a bag of incongruous memories, beautiful and dear all the same. I won't be forgotten. I won't forget you. Our paths will cross many times and we will shake our heads at how different we look. We'll laugh as we re-tell old stories, cry as we recount our losses. We will love each other as we are. There is nothing more beautiful.
So let us live our lives homeless and free. Ever changing. Ever learning. Ever loving.