I heard it before I could see it. A pileated woodpecker, making that silly, squawky sound they make, wuk, wuk, wuk, when they are protecting their territory. I was walking back into my driveway, and all of a sudden, that sound made me feel at home. Perched up on a tall, dead red pine behind the house, with its crest cutting into the blue sky, it was announcing that it would not put up with trespassers.
I used to have pileated woodpeckers all the time at my other house. But here was one at the new place. And as I looked over at my feeders, there were two male cardinals and one female. Two goldfinches on the niger seed feeder.
A little taste of home. For the first time, in the 2 weeks I’ve been here, I felt my heart rest a bit.
What is home anyway? I was talking to Sue Staniforth yesterday, and she had just returned from an adventure up in Algonquin Park. She loves Newfoundland, loves British Columbia, but as she explained, there was something about the Park that resonates with her soul, and feels like home.
I know that feeling, that thumping in the chest when you know you’re where you are supposed to be. I get that when I’m looking out over the sea in Nova Scotia. The salty scent that pervades the air, the feel of the wind on my face, and the very vibrations in the earth that seem to plant me ever so solidly there. Driving down the backroads, following the rivers, the rhythm of life there suits me.
Ontario is truly lovely. I’m always happy when I’m in the mountains in Alberta. The Qu’appelle Valley in Saskatchewan is breathtaking, and Newfoundland has always been the closest thing to home for me, next to Nova Scotia…but none of those places are home.
My first few days in the Grange house didn’t feel like I was home at all. It felt hot, empty and dirty. But now that a bit of time has passed, I think of my first dinner here, with Michael and Jean in the kitchen, surrounded by chaos and laughter. Sitting in the living room with Rory, watching old Dr. Who episodes. Coffee on the porch with Janey, surrounded by the dogs. It will be more homey when can see Jaime sitting in her boxers watching old Seinfeld re-runs, and others I love making music in the living room. All those memories will make it home.
A strange thing has happened of late. I spend a lot of time going out to BC, to visit Marj, Andy and others. And for the first time, when I landed in Victoria and my feet hit the ground, it felt homey. It didn’t resonate “you are home” and I didn’t feel like I wanted to move there immediately. But on our travels, Marj and I headed around to Sooke, where the trees scrape the edge of the sky and the ocean pulls at the land as you drive along the West Coast Highway. The water seemed to call from the car window, and our expedition down to French Beach felt wonderful. It felt like home.
But why? I have no memories in Sooke. But I have memories of salt water, of laughter on the beach, being surrounded by people I love while I am in BC…all these together seem to create the pull of home.
Thousands of writers have contemplated the meaning of home; its subjective and relative nature suggests that a definition that suits me wouldn’t suit you, or you, or anyone else. But I’m going to put a few things down, and I hope that others will add to it, so we can generate an emergent and wonderful description of home.
- a place where your heart can rest and you can make dinner in your PJs and it doesn’t matter!
- a place filled with memories that make you smile.
- a moveable feast of people you love, wherever they gather.
- a place that resonates in your soul, like Algonquin Park, and finds you at peace.
- …where your heart is?
What does home mean to you? Tell me, please. Add it here.