March 4, 2018

The Wish & The Belonging

There is a house on a hill I have never entered, but it feels like home. It faces the sea, and I'm sure every day its rooms fill with briny wind and waves of shadow, and every night the peace of stars. I stand outside its white wooden walls and look through the door at its gold-brown wooden floors, and wish with all my heart I lived there.




It feels like home because inside there is a woman who looks out at people like me - tourists clambering the old hill paths, having picnics in what is practically her back yard - and I have been her in another house, a distant place. I have stood in the belongingness to a land which other people visit, many of them wishing to belong there. But the thing is, I belonged to a land I didn't really love.

Oh, I knew it well. I could run its paths blindfolded. Even decades after I last did it, still cover my eyes and I could do it again. Those paths are veins of my wider body. But I do not love them in the way I love a soft track through tall calm forest, or a swathe of foot-pressed grass over a hill.




And so the hill house feels like home because it reminds me of both what I had and what I wish I'd had. To be honest though, I feel a great deal of guilt for not wanting what I was given. My stony ground and dusty hill and familiar paths love me, yearn for me - I feel them calling all through my days for me to go home. Sometimes the call is overbearing, other times I am happy to be there a while. It makes me wonder, does belonging equate to peace? And is there a difference between empathy and belonging, between familiarity and belonging? For that matter, can we belong somewhere due to the force of that land's desire for our presence?

Ultimately, I am within myself both what I had from life - damp shadow, old smoke, witch-murmured dreaming - and what I wish I'd been given instead - apple-scent, gentle light, new bread braided with wishes, white sheets gathering high clean wind. The trick is working out which one is my shadow and which my soul.

And maybe this is the case for many people. Maybe it's even the Way home. Life gives us situations, influences, the longings of others, and we must work our way through them to find who we really are and perhaps even what we'd like our heaven to be.

Do you have a place you belong, and a place you wish you belong, and are they the same? If not, how do you reconcile that?

5 comments:

  1. oh, it's a quandary...i do not feel i belong where i live, where i was born---the light, the weather, the people, all feel not quite home to me. yet there is little likelihood of ever living where i feel most at home. but as i haven't lived in those other places, only visited them, how can i know if they would embrace me? and then there is the difference between a land and its other people...perhaps i might love the land and it love me too, but the other people might still make me feel not at home. i try to love the land where i live, because i feel that it deserves that of us; i think it likes me well enough. but is it home? it is...where i live. i think i've always lived half in a dream of other places and other times.

    ReplyDelete
  2. For me, the journey is to reside unconditionally within myself and the rest falls into place. I find wonder and magic in the mundane most places and that captures my attention and inspires.

    ReplyDelete
  3. You know, I am **a lot** more comfortable with and excepting of my life and home and circumstances than I was in decades past. I'm glad! I put myself through such gordian knots of my own tying! I should have been easier on myself. I'll take peace over frustration any day ... it's been hard won though. Peace always is. Reconciling all the disparate bits and pieces of our realities and our dreams for home and health and hearth keeping is tricky ... the riches of a fulfilling life are worth the effort, but the reconciliation of dreams and reality that are at variance is ... hard.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. peace ... that is the best thing of all, isn't it?

      Delete
  4. I'm somewhere now where I don't quite belong. And I feel like you, that sometimes I'm happy to be here, and other times the longing to go 'home' is overwhelming. I want to return to the north, and I know that when spring comes it will hurt very much not to be there. But I don't want to go back to where I grew up exactly. I dread my hometown. I just want to be back beneath those wild northern skies.

    It's interesting how some places feel very much like home. When I visited Wales that felt like home, and Scotland too. Perhaps we've lived many places :)

    ReplyDelete