Thursday, April 06, 2006

Feels like...

I just lost about 2,000 words because this fucking computer freaked out when I nudged the battery the wrong way with my knee. And I'm trying to come to terms with the fact that there's absolutely no way in hell that I'll retreive what's been lost. Reconstruction is futile at best. So pardon the irritation. It's like bearing your heart on the phone to a could-be girlfriend for five minutes, and then realizing that you've been disconnected for the last four and change, but about 67 million times worse. Because who really gives a rotten rat's ass about a could-be?

I'd started thinking about home, and what it feels like to be home, and I had this realization that the last time I'd *really* felt I was at home was around the time I was 8 years old living at 3359 Greenwood Drive in TC, MI. Halfway to sleep, I got up, reached for the lappy, and started going. I had traced a path from the street, up the driveway, past the garden on the left, where I'd sat, a 3-year-old-me, and gorged myself on fresh green beans, and the six white pines my dad had planted on the right. Then, through the front door of the orange-painted-and-brick, one-story ranch, past the living room on the left, then a quick right down the hall... my sister's room, the first on the right, then to mine, the corner room, second door on the right. Thick, golden shag carpet, brown-on-white, diagonal plaid wallpaper. One window to the street, the other to the neighbors. My bed was in the corner, the corner of the house, sometimes facing west, but mostly north, away from the street. Across from my room, my parents'. Bathroom, closet, incidental. I remember being sick in the bathroom and employing the closet during games of hide and seek. Back to the living room. To the rear, the dining room. Not really separated physically, separated functionally. Same rich, brown carpet throughout both. A cut-glass lamp dangling by a chaing over the table, dark-brown stained, soft wood. To the right, the kitchen. Small, with a yellow linoleum floor. But before that, the stairway to the basement, finished off at some point, where I'd practiced piano, performed 'shows' for family friends, built tent-forts from tables and chairs and blankets, and gotten a little loopy from the glue required to assemble a plastic model of the HMS Hood.

Colors, textures, all were warm, inviting. I never thought of it as small. It was a place that begged to be lived in.

The path continued past the dining room, out through the sliding doors, onto the deck, constructed sometime between the time I was 3 and 5, probably. The deck was a portal to the backyard, which was infinite. Yes, I was aware of the property lines, which corners were marked with cement posts one could find by stumbling around in the trees a bit, but before the lot ended, the woods began, and the woods didn't give one good goddamn about property lines. T
hey gladly allowed us our hammock, sandbox, swingset, at the edge, but that's what it was: allowing. Their property. Yet as long as there were trees, I was still in my backyard. I could probably still tell you where each fort was, all the good hiding spots, the place where I hacked open my finger with a knife trying to strip a sapling. And maybe, were I to walk through that territory now, I'd stumble upon little bits of myself that I'd puckishly hidden years ago.

What's your home? When in your life have you felt the most that you were (or are) home? If you were to close your eyes or daydream and walk yourself through and around that space in your mind, step by step, what would you find? How would you react? I strongly suggest you take a few minutes, maybe even half an hour, and try it. It's a powerful path, probably more so than you think. I really wasn't prepared; I wish so much that my first-hand account hadn't evaporated into nothingness.


Anonymous ben said...

Wow, Dave. You make me want to go on, and on, and on, but I'll try to refrain. I still feel it, and I'll tell you when: When I'm coming north on 131 and I start to notice familiar landforms and vegetation. Not recognizing places or things, but recognizing the feel of the place. The patch of row-planted pines next to second- (or third-) growth forest. The terrain that is far from rugged, but ain't flat either. Little cabins out in the woods. All the signs that tell me I'm in Grand Traverse County again.

But then, home must be a changeable place, because I confess to getting the same feeling when I round Soldier Field on Lake Shore Drive and the skyline is finally laid out before me and I can't help take my eyes off the road for a few seconds to take in the glowing lights.

8:34 PM  
Blogger chris g said...

Not quite the same - but I'll tell you something that came to mind.

Labor Day weekend I visited my brother in North Carolina. We went to the beach, and I could just tell that he was completely comfortable in Wilmington, even though he had only moved there a few weeks before. We're sitting there, recovering from an hour or so playing in the waves. I'm rereading Siddhartha, I look over at Geoff laying on his towel, hat pulled over his eyes - and I just start laughing. He looks up at me, laughs. And that was it. I went back to reading. Neither of us said anything.

Another moment I thought about happened when I was on Fire Island, though it might be a condensation of a few memories. On days off I would sit on my deck reading (usually Hemingway for some reason that summer). And it was just perfect with the sun and walking inside to grab some fruit or water, going back out, covering my sun burning neck with my teeshirt.

I'm not sure if the feeling carries over, but I suppose I think of home as a feeling of contentment.

12:08 AM  

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