What is ‘Home’ ?

I am a seeker with a gypsy soul; adventure is the sum of my parts. Yet, it is always a kind of amiable pastime to dwell on the possibility of finding a place to call home. As the years roll by and the past recedes into a collage of faded photographs and occasional flashes of memory, I wonder what home means to me. Is it a country, a house, a family or merely a thought construct to tame my wandering soul?

For many people home means a family unit living under one roof. We grow up in our parents’ house with siblings and call it ‘home’. When we move out and make a new family unit, we call that home. I know several adults who always refer to the place they grew up as their home. I stopped that when my mother passed away, seventeen years after my father. Home left me and memories faded, no longer compounded by family get-togethers which invariably led down rural byways to childhood, enhanced by the passage of time into faded sepia photographs. Sometimes I dream in colour and I see the vividness of summer days spent on the farm of my childhood, tossing the hay, picking fruit, playing hide-and-seek with my sisters in the hay barn. Ironically, when someone presents me with a colour photograph from my youth, I recall the memory in black-and-white, a kind of foggy moment captured on camera. But my best memories are moments that no lens could capture, my reaction to the microcosm of nature, of life; tiny shells glistening like treasures in the sand, a butterfly emerging from its pupa, a bumble bee intent on tickling the extended fronds of a flower, tadpoles wiggling in a pool of water, endless moments in close proximity to unfolding life. Life birthing every new moment from the one before, like a telescopic event where years, seasons, days and moments in time recreated a new one especially for me. To me, this was home.

Decades on from my first close encounter with a ladybird tickling its way across my chubby fingers, I have witnessed many habitats and ecosystems on my travels and crossed paths with more poisonous creatures than my three-year-old self would ever care to witness. However, it is only when I return to the land of my youth, when I register specific smells and delight in the microcosm of local habitats, that I realise that I too, am a specific flower of this ecosystem. And this is what home means to me.

Collette O’Mahony

19/06/2020

2 thoughts on “What is ‘Home’ ?

  1. Shakeira

    I love this reminiscence yes I remember those long summer days . I would pack something to eat and wander off for hours with my dog stopping to look at the giant lake where we lived in the summer walking in the hot sand with bare feet hearing the waves laugh onto shore or the call of friends on the air ,walking over the high dunes glimpse the vast Lake theat expanded in every direction knowing no end and hearing the seagulls overhead !yes I felt one with all! Home was wherever I was At the time! with some other home to show up for meals and such

    Reply

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