Red raspberries in a friend's blue bowl, carried from a farm in Vermont to a General Store in Castleton where I purchased them and left them in a brown bag for four days before bringing them to my friend. A flowery tablecloth, not my own, but so evocative of tablecloths from years past that it looks just like something my Mom would choose for our dining room, perhaps when we were littler and bright, child-like things were common in the house.
When I landed from a long stint of travel at a friend's house, I offered these red raspberries as a thanks for letting me stay. Green beans and purple and magenta radishes, along with lots of Vermont chocolate, were in the mix, too. I was so happy to be back in an actual home.
Being at a summer camp, well, if you've ever been to one you know what I'm talking about. I stayed in a dorm room, very impersonal and squarey, with lots of sharp corners on which I would bump my boney knees and curse my clumsy nature.
I was relieved to be back in a home with softer corners. Even though it was not my own, it was a home.
What's in a home? Things. Spirits. Light. Love. Photos of family and friends. Cats and/or dogs. Maybe a bird or fish. Mugs for tea and teapots. Loose tea. Cuttings boards and frying pans. Butter. Chairs you can take outside to the table in the backyard. Candles. A couch or two with pillows. Books on knitting. Roses in a vase from the garden. A place to leave your shoes with other shoes so they don't get lonely. Special, quiet places to do yoga or meditate. Curtains. Stairs.
When it came time for me to leave the house and return to my house, the resident cat did not want me to leave. He planted himself atop my bag and purred. He must has sensed my waywardness and my feelings of floating away, my need for some groundedness. He must have thought, 'I'll just rest here for her and maybe she'll reconsider and stay a few more days.'
I was sorry to tell him I had to get home to my cat. Noticing him love me in this instant way, though, having only known me for a few days... well, it was touching. I realized each home has a heart in it, made up of different things, stories, histories and spaces. But these spaces where we live and ask others to join us in the living - the space starts to grow a loving, pumping heart that nurtures those who come near it, if only for a dinner party.
My heart belongs to several different places, all of which in one way or another feel like home. But it's certainly in the figurative sense, for Vermont is home to me but I don't have an actual house there. It's something different to be in a house and curl into a couch and read a book. It's an all together lucky place to be, I've come to realize.
Those who have homes are lucky. For their heart is woven into the heart of the space, and a certain kind of building, seeing and believing can take place. One can have people over to witness their life, their way of seeing and believing, and enjoy food over it and feel seen and heard.
People can come together and be frail and found all at once. The heart of the home protects and borders them.
Being in a home, looking out and seeing flowering bushes and trees, I felt the distinct pleasure of finding quiet and rest in a place meant for that kind of finding. I felt gratitude for having such dear friends that welcome me into their space. I felt my lightness leave me a little bit more. I felt spirits in the house welcome me into their temple. And I felt a profound sense of satisfaction in not only enjoying a cup of tea but having the pot nearby to pour another cup when I needed it while I knit more of my niece's baby blanket.
I also thought of those who do not have homes, or are waiting to find a home, and how they leave the wildness of their hearts in all kinds of places, searching for some place to land. How hard, too, they become to create structure in their surroundings and weather things, people, circumstances.
I realized all hearts need a home. Whether its in the wind and trees or walls and windows, we are animals. We crave territory.
I hope that you're finding your territory, wherever you may be. Or you're on the path to finding it.
I know I am.