Near the conclusion of the “Wizard of Oz” movie, Dorothy meets up again with Glinda, the Good Witch of the South. She tells her plaintively, “All I have wanted to do since I got here is to go home.” Glinda looks at her with eyes of love and explains that she has always had that capacity. All she has to do is click the heels of her red shoes together and say “There’s no place like home.” Glinda guides her and Dorothy clicks her heels together several times and repeats, “there’s no place like home.” And eventually she wakes up in her own bed, where others wait anxiously for her to wake up after being caught in the tornado that ravished the countryside.
“There’s no place like home.” After traveling for 3 months we discovered once again how true that is. Home is where everything is familiar. It’s where we can relax in our favorite chairs and bed. Where we can eat and prepare our favorite foods. It’s where we can look through our windows and take in the beautiful view of Eagle Harbor and enjoy the multiple signs of spring.
Home is where people know you. We had been home less than an hour when we walked into a restaurant and were greeted by our priest and a parishioner with great delight. That scene was repeated a number of times in the grocery store and then at church and by welcoming texts and messages received. This is one of the great gifts of travel – coming home.
The word has many uses and means different things to different people. Middle English hom, from Old English hām means village, dwelling; it’s akin to Old High German heim home. And, like so many English words in addition to being a noun, it can be an adjective, an adverb, or a verb. It’s an important word that expresses not only a dwelling, but, I believe our deepest longing to be loved, accepted, welcomed.
Home is where the heart is. Pliny the Elder
Since coming home we’ve returned to our regular routines. One of those for me is working weekly at Helpline House’s Food Bank. It’s there that I interact with folks who we call “homeless”. Over the years I’ve noticed that some of these folks really aren’t interested in permanent housing. For the most part, they love the freedom of not being connected to a particular piece of land or building. It’s these folks who have taught me the most about what it is to be “at home”, for they are at home in themselves with their life the way it is. Some would criticize their choices, and it’s not one that I would make, however, I admire their tenacity and courage in living a different way and in claiming their own space as a human being on this planet as their “home”.
In the months ahead, we will continue to absorb the experiences of new landscapes and peoples that we had on our travels, realizing how privileged we are to be able to engage in such travel.
The words of T.S. Eliot ring in my mind:
We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.
I’m still learning and will continue to write about the discoveries I make in this new place .
It’s a funny thing coming home. Nothing changes. Everything looks the same, feels the same, even smells the same. You realized what’s changed is you.
F. Scott Fitzgerald