Friday, August 22, 2008

Thinking of Home

Although I was born in Germany and have lived in places like the Azores and Indonesia and the Pacific Northwest, I am honestly a southern girl in my heart of hearts. And, tonight I'm thinking about home.

I have a theory about home. I think that when we are children, home is where our parents are. In our twenties, home is where our lover is. In our late twenties and early thirties, I think we begin to choose for ourselves exactly how to create a home. And, I believe that as we age, the place our heart calls home is most often where we lived as a teenager. That's where all the seeds were planted that grew into our adult selves. That is the truth for me, anyway.

As I near forty, I realize more and more that my heart's home is in the mountains of Tennessee and just across the state lines into northwest Georgia and Alabama. For me, home is where I was a teenager.

Home is the sound of crickets and bullfrogs. Home is hot summer days and cooler, breezy nights full of fireflies and cricket calls. Home is where everyone offers you a glass of tea and doesn't think to mention that it's sweet. Of course tea is sweet. Home is where people say, "ya'll" and "hey" and "yes, ma'am" without irony. Home is where every soda is a coke and grown men and women still call their fathers Daddy. Home is where you wave at strangers passing on the road. It is evenings sitting on porches or in the backyard telling tall tales. Home is a boat full of teenagers down at the dam with snacks, music, and a long, hot day ahead. Home is where people speak slowly and move slower still. Not because our minds aren't quick, but because we know how to savor.

And, now I'm wondering. What is home to you?

The two southern images seem plucked straight from my childhood. They were taken by Kenny. This song is exactly how I am feeling tonight.


Caroline said...

I never really thought about "home" this way before. I spent some time in Georgia...there is something to be said about "Southern Hospitality" that makes me feel at home. I honestly don't know where my true home is. I guess where I am now is my home...I have never been more happy, peaceful and comfortable in my life.

Patti said...

I never really thought about home this way either... you made me think...and on a Saturday too! Home to me is a couple of things. It's a place where I can relax, a place where there is coziness and I feel a sense of peace. My house is like that. I think my true home is in Michigan where we have our "little place" to escape. I just love it there- the water, the beaches, the rolling hills; vineyards and orchards, the slower pace. Everytime we drive under the "Welcome to Michigan" sign I just sigh- I feel like this is where I am meant to be.

paris parfait said...

I grew up in a place very much like the one you describe. And there are many things I miss about the South. But when you've lived abroad for a long time and traveled often, it's hard to say where home is. I miss certain things about most places I've lived. For me, home is in the heart, more than an actual physical place. Is that a protective mechanism, after years of living like a gypsy - or conviction? Not sure. Maybe I haven't found that actual physical place yet - but I hope to sommeday.

Beth said...

What a great question....and since I have moved 14 times in 24 years, I'm quite the gypsy !!!

BUT...with all of our moves, when I think of home, it is still the hometown that my hubby and I grew up in, as our parents are still there. And with all of our moves, we needed something that was our "home base"...and that worked.

tangobaby said...

I think I really missed out on something special when I read your post. Growing up in a brand spanking new house in California, where everyone you met had just moved here from somewhere else, must have left me somewhat uprooted. No wonder I am always ready to move on...except for living here in SF, this is the first place that feels like home to me.

But I was so glad to read this post and see what home means to you. In reading about your home, I could not help feeling how very lucky you are!


Teal Chic said...

Hmmm home is going for long walks with my mom out in the country, my dogs playing in the pond, sparrows nests, stickers in my feet from walking in the field with sandals on (when will i ever learn), go cart, golf carts, vineyards, peace and quiet except for the occasional grape truck going by with a load of grapes for the local wineries......

dutchbaby said...

I adore the part about “y’all” and “yes, ma’am” without irony!

Like you, I grew up in three continents. I was born in Java, Indonesia and spent my elementary school years in Amsterdam before we moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1966. Within the Bay Area, I’ve lived in Marin County, Berkeley, San Francisco, and Palo Alto. For me, home is not necessarily a place any longer. Home is where I can call someone when I have good news to share, or when need some comfort or advice. Home is when I can call a neighbor when I want a companion for a walk or a cup of tea. Home is where someone will bring you a meal when your family is in distress. Home is where I can be me and where I am accepted and loved as me. I have found my home here in Palo Alto.

Thank you for such an insightful post!

Something White said...

Hello Relyn, how nice to read that you were born in Germany, because so was I! My dad had a job in Berlin, but my mother lived at that time still in Neuss (near Düsseldorf) and so I was born there. My mother - by the way - is German. I've been thinking what 'home' means to me and of course I could say my little family, the place where I live now (I grew up in the Netherlands, lived also in Belgium, in England and in France), our house... but I think I have to say: God. When I was 24 years old I went to France to become a sister/nun and I stayed in the convent during 7 happy years. Unfortunately some personal problems and troubles forced me to leave my community and afterwards I got married to a very good man. In all these turbulent times the only stable factor was my belief, was just simply God. And it always will be. Yes, God is my home and my shelter. The real home for me is this spiritual place.
Love, Marjolijn

Ps. I hope you're doing well! :D

susanna said...

Ohhhh...your Home sounds so lovely. I wish I could just hop in my car and take a roadtrip to your neck of the woods.

I agree in that as we get older we get a better idea of what we want in a Home - and not just in the physical sense. The Home in my heart right now is up north in Canada. It isn't a specific place but certainly within a short drive to my sister's place or to a certain cottage on a certain lake. It's the smell of my mom's cooking and my inlaw's laughter. It's hearing accents on the television that make even the news sound quaint. I think I'll be going to bed dreaming of Home tonight.

studio wellspring said...

our ideas of home are very much the same, sweet relyn. i will always consider the south of my childhood home. but i also have a strong sense of home connection to the pacific northwest. the fresh green air, the lush green forests, the vast pacific ocean, and the beautiful house my father built for us nestled amongst it all {when i was a teen}. when i visit my parents in oregon, i say i'm going home. and when i visit the rest of my family in arkansas i also say i'm going home. it's kind of nice to call two places home. both places give overflowing warmth & comfort to me just by daydreaming about them. so thank you darling heart for giving me the excuse to go there in my mind this morning....with hot cocoa in hand, of course. ;o)

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