Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What has happened down here?

You can't grow houseplants without a house.

What an amazing post, Erica. It is all about the what-ifs, and then finding that balance between stability and mobility. I thought I'd find that on a sailboat--I could sleep in the same place every night, even if the boat itself moved. That stability was okay if where I lived moved, as long as I could have familiar things around me. That didn't work out so well.

I was thinking tonight how I refuse to call anything home. Like, even: “I’ll pick up some groceries on the way home.” That word is the worst word for me. I hate it. I hate when someone asks me: “Where are you from?” It’s like: “Who are you and why do you want to know?” Or: “Nowhere. And you?”

The fox has his hole and the bird has his nest and all that crap. So, Jesus didn’t have a home. That doesn’t mean I can’t have a home. This is what I want my home to look like. (That website, Eating Alabama, has a lot of really great things to say about locavorism and vegetarian stuff, too.)

I’m still having a hard time with it, though. I still struggle against putting down the roots into the ground, and I can only imagine the pull of the ground is all the more strong when you have children. Not in a bad way, in a good way. Like that old saw: “Give your kids roots so they can grow wings.” We were rootless children. And I see the advantages of that, too. Being rootless gives you a whole different perspective on life.

I used to have this whole theory about communities, about how the idea of community always looks amazing, and it is amazing, but after a time you dig into the dirt beneath the surface of the community and you discover all of this ugliness. Not that communities are ugly, it’s just that people have ugliness and beauty mixed, just like people.

Then I thought that this quote from Paul Simon was my life motto:
“A man gets tied up to the ground
He gives the world its saddest sound.”

Maybe I was wrong about all of it, though. Maybe it'll mean something if I can say: “I’m going home.”


Anonymous said...

Communities and people are definitely a mix of beauty and ugliness! The real question is: can one still love people and communities in spite of the ugliness? Are people (and communities) still worth loving and committing to in spite of their warts and scars and flaws?

Of course, one can't commit to every person or place, but the trick to finding "home", whether "home" to you means a place or a person, is deciding which flaws we can live with, and then committing to building the best community (or relationship) that one can, as an individual.

Melissa said...

I know. I think I used to think that the ugliness of communities was worth avoiding by jumping from community to community. But I'm beginning to think it's worth digging in and finding home. And learning to live with flaws.

Anonymous said...

What a great picture of the Alabama home. I can see why you would want a place like this. I see no reason why you should not get it.
Your comments on uprootedness and the creative life reminded me of a powerful book of letters by Rainer Marie Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet. I checked on line and you can download it free with Google: Rainer Marie Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet, Stephen Mitchell translation. I hope you will read it. I think you will find him a sympathetic figure.

The Capt'n