I am just back in Hamilton and will go this morning to Brewers just as soon as the kids leave for Toronto to see the CN Tower. It is comfortable here, but I miss THO when I am not there. I miss the cozy space and the trees around it. I miss the sounds of the wind and the chatter of the chipmunks. I miss the howling of the coyotes but most of all I miss my community.
It is not unusual for me to long to be home among my loved ones there. Even though I don’t pop in to see all of my friends and family every day when I am home, I still know that the potential to see them is at hand. The truth is that I have never felt that much at home anywhere, except there, at home. I don’t want to suggest that I have not had moments of comfort in other places. I had wonderful friends and neighbours when I lived in Germany. I have friends in Guelph, Finch, Hamilton and other places that I have lived. Some of my most dearest live very far from me, those in Japan, Jamaica, the UK and my Lithuanian sister friend who is in Germany come to mind frequently. My kids are here in Hamilton area but even my love for them does not make this home for me.
My Hamilton house is small but comfortable. It boasts conveniences and features that we often take for granted – but I do not have these at THO; It lacks for example: running water, electricity, heat, air-conditioning, a bathtub, a full kitchen, refrigeration, indoor cooking, a washer, a dryer, a bus that takes me to the indoor-farmers market and back without fighting for parking, my writing group is here, and it also has a good bright 9×12 studio space. It is a nice solid house with a tidy German looking yard and a nice garden, but it is not my home.
Be it ever so humble and not quite done, here is my home. Here is where my heart is.
Oh, you’ll love her! Black Oaks is one of my favourite Mary Oliver poems. I printed it out and framed it:
Okay, not one can write a symphony, or a dictionary,
or even a letter to an old friend, full of remembrance
Not one can manage a single sound though the blue jays
carp and whistle all day in the branches, without
the push of the wind.
But to tell the truth after a while I’m pale with longing
for their thick bodies ruckled with lichen
and you can’t keep me from the woods, from the tonnage
of their shoulders, and their shining green hair.
Today is a day like any other: twenty-four hours, a
little sunshine, a little rain.
Listen, says ambition, nervously shifting her weight from
one boot to another — why don’t you get going?
For there I am, in the mossy shadows, under the trees.
And to tell the truth I don’t want to let go of the wrists
of idleness, I don’t want to sell my life for money,
I don’t even want to come in out of the rain.
~ Mary Oliver