26 December 2008

Home is more than place

Cloud over home
"Birds in flight, claims the architect Vincenzo Volentieri, are not between places, they carry their places with them. We never wonder where they live: they are at home in the sky, in flight. Flight is their way of being in the world."
—(Geoff Dyer, from "Out of Sheer Rage: In the Shadow of D.H. Lawrence".)

I'm reluctant to call anywhere "home" because it can be taken to imply "home" is nowhere else, or indeed that it's a specific place — and only a specific place. But I'll put aside the nit-picking just for a moment and say this place, under this wild sky, is, for the time being, home.

[Photo at dusk just over a month ago, when the ti kouka (cabbage trees) were flowering profusely.]

All content © 2008 Pete McGregor


Zhoen said...

Home is wherever I am at the moment, preferably with my guys, human and feline.

It is soothing to have a reference point, not being a bird. But not necessary.

pohanginapete said...

Zhoen, I too aspire to feeling at home wherever I am. I succeed to greater or lesser degrees, which I guess adds weight to the argument that home is at least as much a quality as a position.

Dave said...

Regarding the Dyer quote, it's very similar to something attributed to confucious in Da Xue (The Great Learning):
Wherever a bird comes to rest, it's right at home.
Is it fitting that a man should have less sense than a bird?

Anne-Marie said...

Another one of your beautiful skies, Pete. It's an unusual photo to have in black + white but I suspect it looks more dramatic than in colour.

I have always been a home-is-a-place person. Place has always mattered to me - the land, the feel of the land, the memories of the land, are as important to me as the people there. But I am, I think, starting to be a little more flexible and recognise I can some times feel at home in unfamiliar places.

pohanginapete said...

Dave, thanks for that — very pertinent and much appreciated.

Anne-Marie, thank you :^) Recently I've probably leaned the other way — that is, to be more accepting of home as place — although I imagine I'll always find comfort in the thought that one can be 'at home' wherever.

Michael said...

Wonderful place to hang your hat.

pohanginapete said...

It is indeed, Michael. It was particularly lovely yesterday evening and early this morning, and I spent some time on the verandah just enjoying it.

Greg Brave said...

I don't agree with you Pete about Home. I think that Home is a very special place for anyone. It is a place of where your roots are, the place that is connected to your life in a very special way.
I think the true home is where person spent his childhood... and if he is lucky, the he can return there from time to time during his whole life. I understand what you mean by saying feeling at home at that place, but I would still save the precious "definition" of home for that what I described...
You see, maybe it is my own life makes me write this - I feel that I don't have "home" since I left my country of birth at very young age of 11 and since then I never felt completely at home anywhere

pohanginapete said...

Greg, that's fine; what you feel is home is, well, whatever you feel it is, I guess. For you, it's clearly a special place. All I'd disagree with is your assertion that it's a special place for anyone. I feel at home to greater or lesser degrees according not just to where I am, but according to the circumstances in which I find myself. Moreover, traumatic events can change a place from a much-loved home to a place of horror, suggesting (to me, at least) that a rigid concept of home as a particular place must always be contingent. However, this does not make my concept of home any more or less true than yours — what one feels to be home must surely be what one feels and believes.

Thanks for the thoughts, Greg, and a happy and peaceful New Year to you :^)

Greg Brave said...

Thank you Pete.
Happy New Year to you too!