Tuesday, January 11, 2011

homeward, with heaven above me

whether they are a part of their home or home is a part of them is not a question children are prepared to answer. having taken away the dog, take away the kitchen--the smell of something good in the oven for dinner. also, the smell of washday, of wool drying on the wooden rack. of ashes. of soup simmering on the stove. take away the patient old horse waiting by the pasture fence. take away the chores that kept him busy from the time he got home from school until they sat down for supper. take away the early morning mist, the sound of crows quarreling in the treetops. take away all this and what have you done to him? in the face of deprivation so great, what is the use of asking him to go on being the boy he was. he might as well start life over again as some other boy instead.


i drove home in the snow yesterday. it wasn't much. not enough to make the roads dangerous. just a little powdery cascade, dusting my front porch rocker and daintily dancing upon my sidewalk.

and as i drove, i thought (because that's when i do my best thinking, you know). 

about driving home. calling home. walking in my home.

there are things i know because i am taught. because i spend time to learn them and engrave them into my mind. the alphabet, multiplication tables, how to sew a button. my favorite song lyrics.

and then, there are things i know, because i can feel them. in my bones. somewhere that memory doesn't reach. somewhere inside the infant part of me. the part i can't recall.

i can't remember when i first memorized the shape of my home. the rooms and their placement. the corners and unexpected turns. the locations of all the light switches, tabletops and little step-downs. it just happened. and unlike academics, work, or anything else i learned through a teacher, i will never forget it. 

because i still have to bring my calculator to the grocery store. i look at directions when i sew. i write down lyrics so i can repeat them later. i forget grammar, history, and science sometimes.

but i still remember the path to my childhood bedroom. the room with white walls at the top of the stairs. and i still remember the shape of calling robert's old cell phone number, mama's car phone from the 90s, and my best friend's home number, which i haven't called in ages.

because things like that can't be unlearned. because home is me. i am home. what am i if not the accumulation of little moments associated with that structure of brick and vinyl siding, sheet rock and stucco?

the shape of home has changed, yes. now i have two homes. my childhood one and my new one with robert. but both are the same. i still run to them every afternoon. mama used to be at the stove, making homemade vegetable soup in the winter. now, i come home to robert, on the couch with pablo, watching the evening news. 

it's a different scene, but one that is wholly familiar to me.

i remember. i understand. i feel.

not because i was taught. because i already knew.

16 comments:

Daydream Living said...

...because I already knew; this is a great ending to a lovely post Courtney!
xx Maureen

mskanorado said...

This post is beautiful and there is so much truth to it!

becca said...

i love the ending statement because i already knew. for me as a child i moved alot so home for me was family coming home to find mom waiting there that to me was how i knew i was home

Ana* said...

Oh, I relate so much with this post. "my best friend's home number" -> I still remember it, even though i haven't dialed it in ages. it's amazing how our memory stores the things that form our being.

jeanette from everton terrace said...

Makes me even more grateful that "home" has always been a beautiful and safe haven for me. When I was getting married the priest came to me about 15 minutes before the wedding and asked me "where is home" and I said "wherever my husband is I suppose" and he winked and told me my future husband had said the same thing. I'll never forget it.

Thisisme said...

Likewise, home has always been a safe haven for me. Both my present one and my childhood one. Spare a thought for all the poor children and adults that do not have the security of a loving homelife. It doesn't even bear thinking about.

Ren- Lady Of The Arts said...

Lovely- home is truly where the heart is!

LittleSilkDress said...

You always write so beautifully. Thank you for sharing.

Haley K said...

"...there are things i know, because i can feel them. in my bones. somewhere that memory doesn't reach. somewhere inside the infant part of me." Love it :)

Sarah Elizabeth said...

This is exactly how I feel about my home - you're able to put it into much more beautiful words than I am though! It makes me sad every time I leave my childhood home. My new home with my husband doesn't quite feel like home yet. It will take time to fill it with so many happy memories. x x

Emily said...

once again amazing writing. Its funny the things you cant seem to remember but how you cant seem to forget other things. I'm pretty sure I close my eyes I could say exactly where every single little thing is in my house. Its an interesting concept but our home is part of who we are

The Many Colours of Happiness said...

This was amazing! I love your writing :) What you wrote was so true as well.
That last line was lovely :)

b. lee said...

magical post * love it! also have to tell ya .. I sooo adore ur "main title/page pic" ... sweet sweet sweet * cheers from ur new follower ~ lookin' forward to surfin' the rest of ur blog * *

the southern hostess said...

Beautiful. I have tears in my eyes.

Shalyn said...

Beautiful, once again girl. I wish so much I could just get inside your head and be able to articulate my words the way that you do. You are so special!

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