Heart is where the home is

Home. Suddenly it has become more important than ever. Once, home for each of us could have meant something different. For now it’s a place. Its literal. It’s a bricks and mortar, a roof over our head, walls to keep us sheltered from the storm. For the lucky amongst us, it is a haven, a place of safety and solace. But even then, it’s not all concrete. For our homes take on a life of their own, like living and breathing entities, absorbing the memories and the stories that unfold within their walls by a kind of osmosis. Every house has a feeling of its own, a vibe and a personality. The longer a house stands, the more souls pass through like visitors at a train station, wearing paths in the carpet, deep wells in the staircases, smoothing the banister rails. A house becomes a home, the figurative ghosts of all that lived within etched into its crevices so that when we choose a house, we feel its spirit resonating with our souls, drawing us close. This place, we think. This is the place. Home.We take the keys from the estate agent excitedly. We fill it with treasures, relics of our existence, things that remind us of people we love, people we lost, of ourselves. Children run, echoing laughter through the hallways, innocent hand prints on the windows, muddy footprints on the doorstep, dashing through the garden as the sunlight falls dappled through the leaves of trees planted long ago. This they will remember.. for home weaves through the fabric of childhood catching memories like silken spider webs.

Sometimes home is a person. Sometimes in life we collide with another soul in such a way that the stars shudder with the intensity of it and nothing, for us, is ever the same again. This person sees us. For all we ever want, really, is to be seen and understood, down to our gritty , desolate marrow. This person becomes the torch to our truth, burning brightly and lighting our darkest spaces, so even at midnight, when the air is thick and hot and dark, we are never alone. To know love like this, in all its fragility, is home.

When we could travel freely, some of us would take home with us, like snails carry their shells , finding it in all the worlds most vibrant places. In the hot, fragrant markets of India, the canals of Venice, the cafes of France. Sometimes home is inside us, a mobile treasured thing we carry with us wherever our feet may land. For those souls, this kind of home will have to wait, and now is a time to rest, to plan new adventures in stillness while the earth recovers. Then when things return to a new normal, and the world carefully begins to open its doors once again, we will need to explore the forgotten realms of our own cities, the secret spaces where culture and culinary delights meet with all the texture and art and beauty of any exotic continent. We just need to look a little harder. Its there, waiting for us, ever patient for when this isolation is over.

As we wait at home , everyone collectively alone but united in solitude in this most chaotic of times, let us rest , knowing we do so for the greater good of the world, for the vulnerable, for all of us. Let us use this catastrophic global event to slow down and notice. To see the way the light plays shadows on our walls at dusk, the creak and sigh as our tin roofs moan in the cooling evening air. The way the stars light up our skies like a trillion shimmering miracles, and the moon rises above the landscape, suspended in the heavens as if by magic, forever watchful. The tiny fingernails on the hands of our children, the dancing freckles on their cheeks. The way the eyes of those we love burn a little brighter when they see us. The pages of a book, crisp and fresh, or dog-eared and cherished. The pristine beauty of our ever wild landscape, the embrace of a forest ,the pull of the ocean, the silhouette of a familiar mountain range.

For the heart is always where the home is.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

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© 2016 Claire Inkson. All photographs copyright Claire Inkson

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