Always Coming Home, The Matter of Time, and Boris-the-Bad

What is it about home?  Dorothy and E.T. sure seemed to understand that coming home can be the most desirable journey of all.

Ruby Slippers

There’s No Place Like Home …

But this isn’t always readily apparent to those of us travelers who still aren’t sure where exactly home is.  Not because we don’t have a house (we’ve been in ours for seven years now; the longest time I’ve lived anywhere in my life!), but because we easily relate to so many other places in the world.

Even on the Fourth of July. 

It’s not that I’m unpatriotic or don’t love my country (I do! I do!), but like Dorothy and E.T., no matter where I am in the world, it seems a little voice in my head whispers to me almost constantly:  “I want to go home.  I want to go home …”

Even when I’m already at home.

This has bothered me for some time now, and might explain why I have such itchy feet:  am I “Star Seed” like E.T., looking for a home on this Earth that I’ll never be able to find? 

Or even worse.

According to Shaman Ernesto Ortiz, a chronic deep longing to go Home is one sign that a person is nearing the end of her karmic cycles and completing her contract for this lifetime.

A scary thought.

But one I hope you are thinking about too as we approach 12/21/12.  Not because it’s the End-of-the-World, but because eventually all of our worlds will, in fact, end.

My husband lost a great deal of “karma” this week.  How do I know?  He’s at his Aunt Carma’s memorial service in Utah as I type this.  (I realize this is a dumb pun on her name, but my point is that time is fleeting, elastic, and mysterious for all of us.)

I really experienced this last week at the Guggenheim in Bilbao when we explored Richard Serra’s The Matter of Time, a maze of spiraling sculptures you can walk through (if you’re brave enough).  The effect is quite disorienting.

exploring Richard Serra's The Matter of Time at the Guggenheim, Bilbo

How do I get out of here?

So we’re home now – back behind the Orange Curtain in Newport Beach, California – and I’ve only barely skimmed the surface of everything that happened last week in Spain.  That’s the problem with travel writing; when I’m traveling, the last thing I usually want to do is stop living the adventure just to write about it.  (I will work on filling in the gaps on this and other past trips soon!)

I’ve been thinking a lot about what journeys to make in the next six five and a half months leading up to 12/21/12.  The next one will be a mid-July writing/meditation retreat in Taos, New Mexico I’m taking with author/filmmaker Ruth Ozeki (author of My Year of Meats, among others).   I haven’t seriously meditated in any disciplined manner for quite some time now, so am looking forward to seeing what impact this will have on my writing life.

Stay tuned. 

But I’m home, for the rest of this week at least.  One of the best parts about coming home has been reuniting with our pets:

Boris & Dudley plan their attack

Let’s ambush her …

This is Boris-the-Bad (tuxedo cat) and his partner in crime, Dudley-the-Dude.  I am actually not a Crazy Cat Lady (only Boris is mine), but since I gave Dudley to my mother-in-law as a present once, we owe her free cat sitting whenever she travels (which is A LOT).

Why do the cats look so smug here?  The picture was taken right before their attack:

cats hunting dog

Poor Natasha doesn’t see what’s coming …

My poor little dog, Tasha, didn’t quite manage to get out of the way before they pounced.

There’s No Place Like Home.

Which reminds me of my favorite travel poem of all time:

Please bring strange things.

Please come bringing new things.

Let very old things come into your hands.

Let what you do not know come into your eyes.

Let desert sand harden your feet.

Let the arch of your feet be the mountains.

Let the paths of your fingertips be your maps

and the ways you go be the lines on your palms.

Let there be deep snow in your inbreathing

and your outbreath be the shining of ice.

May your mouth contain the shapes of strange worlds.

May you smell food cooking you have not eaten.

May the spring of a foreign river be your navel.

May your soul be at home where there are no houses.

Walk carefully, well loved one,

walk mindfully, well loved one,

walk fearlessly, well loved one.

Return with us, return to us,

be always coming home.

                 — Ursula K. Le Guin

Question:  What do you miss most about your home when you travel?  Have you ever felt the desire to “go Home” even when you’re already there?

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