Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Strange Sensation of Feeling at Home

There were rare moments when I was a child when the wind shook our house, rain spat against the windows, my mother would make a huge vat of popcorn and we would all take a holiday from the work of keeping a house warm and functioning in the middle of an Alaskan nowhere. I'd sit with a book and a bowl of popcorn, listening to the wind and feeling there was no other place I would rather be.

The rest of my life has had few of these moments. No matter where I was or how happy I felt to be with the people I loved, I was perpetually restless, thinking of someplace to go with them that wasn't our home. As a wife and mother, I was continually planning or packing for our next trip and when we bought our first house and the realtor told us the average American changed residences every five years, I was vastly relieved that purchasing did not mean permanence.

Which is why what I am feeling now in the house I recently moved into with friends seems very strange to me. I wake up, make coffee, open the door to my balcony and start writing. Light hits the pale yellow wall that faces my doorway and turns the green of the elephant ear plant that is in my direct line of vision into a color that is both piercing and restful. Later when I move into the large room that has become the household office, palm leaves on the verandah outside filter the sharp hot afternoon light and my eyes feel the coolness of those potted trees when I glance up from my keyboard. Best all is twilight, when the smoooth wooden stairs under my bare feet take me to an open terrace where ice clinks in a glass of vodka tonic and the eastern clouds take on reflected colors from the sunset and the fading light slowly turns to a pale violet, then disappears.

Every morning, before I open my eyes, I wonder where my passport is and what I need to pack. Then I see my curtains floating near me in a mild form of St Vitus dance, feel warm air against my skin, and I am happy to be where I am, in a house of light and air and space and green leaves. With no urge to rush off into another place, I realize that finally I have found my home.


Kim said...

Home. Such a delicate word. Congratulations.

janet said...

You're right--it is.

Kristianne said...

I cannot wait to visit your home. Can I stay a little while?

janet said...

As long as you like--it's your first home in BKK!