Losing And Finding Home

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August Malmstrom , Spirits in a landscape

When time is running out and no one can find the time anymore, it is not simply time that is missing, but the touch of the eternal. Like everything else, time originates in eternity and when it can no longer be found, that is the place to look for it. The “ends of time” lead back to the roots of eternity, which are also the unending source of genuine inspiration, great ideas, and meaningful visions.

To be alive at this time means to be caught in a great unraveling that strands us near all the loose threads of creation; but it also means to be close to the revelation of the new design and the next paradigm. The old knowers say that the cave of knowledge can be found in the depths of the human soul, that each soul is threaded with inner qualities intended to be woven into the world and added to the garment of creation. They say that the creative energies of each soul become more important when the dark times come round again. In facing up to the enormous problems of the world and accepting the troubles that knock on our doors, we can better learn what hidden resources, deep resolves, and surprising designs we have hidden within us.”

- Michael Meade, “Why the World Doesn’t End”

The question of home has followed me through life. My family moved every few years as I grew up. They settled in one rooted place when I was ten years old but I kept moving because I was sent to a boarding school when I was twelve. Every time I came back to that homestead I had to hide my estrangement from it. The people who lived there were growing very differently from the way I was growing.

I was the only one with his nose in a book all the time. I became the only one who lived abroad and spoke a foreign language. I felt obliged to lop off parts of myself just to be with old friends and family. I kept wanting to feel included in my native culture but it became impossible. I kept trying to feel a sense of home there. I was shocked when they sold the old house and land after our parents died.

I kept wanting to establish a gracious old homebase for our children and grandchildren but our home in France was too far from America and its severely limited vacation times. The few times we were able to gather everyone together there were wonderful but rare. Americans don’t have the vacation times the French do.

Anyway, we lost that home in an inheritance cock-up. We had spent too much on renovation and had to sell in a hurry when an expected inheritance didn’t arrive.

I liked living in France. Something about that culture agreed with me. Pulling my roots out of that language and mindset was painful. It had become home. Here in Mexico I’m aware of how my reflexes are still not Mexican and at my age I’m not sure they ever will be.

Mexico is not new to me. I’ve lived here in the past for extended periods. There are many things I admire and enjoy in Mexican culture, and anyway I find American culture to be an ill fitting suit that I can’t adapt to any longer. We’re not in Mexico solely because it’s cheaper, like a lot of older Americans. That helps of course, but it offers a very rich culture to learn from.

I’m a hybrid American, and I’ll probably never again locate my sense of home anywhere on the world map. That sense has become non-physical. Now it’s centered in myself and my loved ones. I can feel my roots in the French language starting to wither and my roots in Spanish starting to expand, but I doubt if I’ll put my roots into Mexico the way I did in France. I expect to learn to think in Spanish and to develop untranslatable associations like I did in French, but I know it takes me a long time to bond with the land and culture of a place. I’m not sure I have that much time left on this planet.

In any case, if your sense of home is invested in people you love wherever they are, you are a fortunate person.

Written by

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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