“Perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition.”
― James Baldwin,
All travelers know a place speaks to them. In some small way, every place has something to tell us; to whisper a secret into our hearts when the moment is right.
Some of us have traveled the world twice over. Some of us have lived on the road and some of us have seen parts of this world where no man should ever imagine a vacation to be. Some of us even love the chaos of big city life. But then, some of us find the most simple tranquility in a small, forgotten and sleepy little town that barely rates its name on a map.This is something that I’ve come to learn in full.
Over time we all develop a sense of place. No matter our travels, no matter where we live or have lived, this sense is born of the heart, born of love; where home truly is.
Our places are where we’ve gained experience, and they will always hold a certain magic about them, a certain feeling and a certain memory.
Throughout my life I’ve lived in many places, some for just a few months, others for many years. At times when I’m traveling I revisit these places of yesterday and open myself to the feeling they bring by simply being back where I once stood. Often, this feeling is met with an ambiance of fresh nostalgia.
Over the past week I revisited two of these places. The gulf coast region where I lived for close to eighteen years, and New Orleans, which has always been a second home to me, holding a part of my imagination since I was a child. What I found though, in standing on the ground that I used to walk and breathing in the salt laden air, is that these places are now only a part of my life; a part of my past.
It is a cruel nostalgia, when the place that you once loved speaks softly to you when you return after many years. And it speaks only to say… your time here is done.
Over the past year or so I’ve considered moving back to both of these places, but this was only an idea, a reason to satisfy my wanderlust once more. But as I finally visited again the ghosts of my past, it became ever clear that what was once the perfect place for me at the time has now become just another spot on the map; a vanquished part of my life that needs no more than an occasional pass through.
My sense of place is clear to me now. As I’ve always longed to see new horizons and gaze upon the colors of a setting sun in new lands, it is now evident that my place is here, right here where I’ve always been. And no matter where I’ve been or where I go, the perfect place for me is always right where I stand.
We should all cultivate a sense of place. We should set the intention of getting to know our places as intimately as we would our lovers. This is how we develop our sanctuary, our most precious refuge hidden beyond the busyness of life.
In any place, we can find beauty. We can find a life fitted just for us, and we can find a home. But we always must remember, home can be many things.
It can be a condition, a calling, or the perfect piece of land out in the woods. We can also find a person, and without a doubt, that person can be our home.
I’ve found my beauty, I’ve found my home and I’ve found my life. And no matter where I am, it is true what they say. “Home is where the heart is.”
However, I prefer just a slightly different version…
Home is where true love is.