Where I’m sitting now, I can see the sea. There’s a breeze and the sun is shining. There are cows in the field behind me, walking lazily next to the fence and munching on some grass. The air is different here, and so is the light. I’m home.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about home and what it means to different people. Joburg is home now for us and it’s where I’m building a life for myself and my husband and my children. But the Eastern Cape is where I’m from, where I grew up, where I was a child. And every time I get here, it’s almost like my whole self takes a big breath and goes…..ahhhhhh….what took you so long?
When I get here, it just feels like my place. Like I fit. Everything is wonderfully familiar. The landspace, the people, the feel of the place. I suppose that when I am here I feel closer to my Mom as well. I am sitting on her chairs, gazing at her in pictures and using her favourite mug. No matter where I am, she is always with me, but here her presence is even stronger.
But at what point do we make other places our home? When will I start to get that same feeling about Joburg? Perhaps I’ll never get it. And what about people who no longer live in their country of birth? Do they feel that longing their whole lives, like something is missing, a gap that nothing but being home can fill?
I can see also, how this place has shaped me. How it has made me “down-to-earth” as people say. How it has made me appreciate the simple things, the natural things. How maybe it has made me a little untamed too. This is often a wild place, and I like to think that I have a little wildness in me.
There are lots of cheesy sayings that speak about home being where your loves ones are and perhaps part of that is true. But home is more than just that. It is also a place where people understand you, where they know your history, how you fit into the world. Home is the place that gives you as an individual context. Home is history. And we can make more history but the one we have already has a pull like no other.
I found this quote by Robert Frost and I love it because it’s just so true. If your life were to crumble around you and you needed shelter or support, where would you go? That’s where home is.
“Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” Robert Frost