Over on her blog Joanna is writing about the Landscapes of Home. She tells the story of finding her new home and that sense of ‘rightness’ about being there, even though it was a place she didn’t know.
It feels a little ironic that the landscape that Joanna is now so settled in was once my home. Home can be a big deal for a child growing up as an ex-pat and somehow I was never quite sure where it was. Home with a capital H was Dumfries or Annan depending which Nana I was staying with, which parent was longing for it. Home was never really England till I found myself in Rochdale. Suddenly, there I felt connected. I could walk the moors, breath in the peace and also enjoy the town and the bustle of the market.
Home as I grew older, though, became a strange and shifting concept.Sometimes I feel that like a snail I carry it with me. There is a connection to places, almost instantly feeling comfotable and at ease there. I used to think it was ancestral memory, but it is more than that and personal geography is a good term. It is something to do with a certain kind of light, a feeling, a shift in atmosphere. I’ve had that instant feeling of ‘this is home’ in places I would never have thought it possible. There are often repeated elements though: soft rolling hills, lush green fields, little churches nestling in the folds, a winding riverside to walk by, little harbours and rocky coves, the sea and hills nearby so they feel within reach, medieval market towns. Erm, well all of that quite neatly describes Dumfriesshire, so perhaps it was the template for all the other places! 🙂
Except Paris. I’ve no idea why I feel so comfortable and at home there. I just do. And once again that was instant. Love at first sight. Of course it might have been the company I was keeping, who let me see the city through his loving eyes.
Where I live now has none of those components yet it is still, very much, home. And here is the other, maybe the most important element. Home is where the heart is and all the other stuff, whilst very nice, matters little if the heart is empty.