Where’s Home?

When you think of home, what do you think about?

Is it a town? A city? A building?

Is it being in the same place with your significant other?

Or is it a state of mind?

The melting ice of Great Slave Lake, Northwest Territories.

Do you have to leave it in order to recognise it? To know that it’s home and it’s where you belong?

I left “home” many years ago. So many places have now been “home” that I don’t really think of it any more as a place.

You can’t go home again. That is the title of a novel by Thomas Wolfe. In it, the idea of home is explored, but there are no definitive answers.

Once you leave home, does home become a construct? Is it an illusion? A sentiment? If what you experienced as home still exists, is it the same? Or was it ever what you thought it was?

I think of home as a place in my head. I don’t always recognise it, but I know it when I feel it. The land where I now spend my working life is a type of home, but I also know that it isn’t home.

Some people can’t wait to get back home. They will only leave it temporarily, if they do at all.

I couldn’t wait to leave home. I wanted nothing to do with it and got as far away from it as I could, both physically and emotionally. I had to find my own concept of home, and did so by exploring the homes of many others. I travelled a lot, both throughout Canada and the world.

And what I found was that the idea of home held a great number of commonalities across ethnicities, countries, religions and regions. It was often about a familiar group of people doing familiar things in an environment that, for the most part, held few surprises, even if there was a war going on. In fact, the notion of emphasising their familiarities was even more pronounced if there WAS a war going on.

So, maybe home is about expectations. We expect certain people to be doing certain things in certain ways in a certain environment. When all about us moves and changes, this idea of home provides a great deal of – well – certainty.

I once took a course that taught that expectations are inherently disappointing. That if you expect something, and then don’t get it as so often happens, you are causing a lot of trouble for yourself.

Maybe that’s why you can’t go home again. Expectations are never what they are in your head.

Now it’s your turn. What are your thoughts about home?