Ode to “Home”

The Comfort and Knowing of Time

Yesterday I was sitting in the family room with CJ, enjoying the autumnal vibe in the air, and the perfectly imperfect pumpkin and eccentric decorative squash we brought back from one of our favorite annual traditions, a roadtrip to Muelrath’s Ranch in Santa Rosa (hayride, pumpkin slingshot, haunted maze, and all!). I looked up at the ceiling and the walls of that room for the thousandth time, and I just had this deep sense of the longevity of my time in this neighborhood, this building, this flat, this “home”. We’ve shared over 4 years together in this home, and I’ve lived FIFTEEN years of my life here. That’s getting on a damn long run. My history here is nearly a teenager!

Pumpkins

It’s amazing to think that my first (and only) roommate in this flat moved out a good 9 or so years ago, and to the best of my knowledge has lived in at least 3 different cities, and likely as many houses (not apartments/flats) since, and here I/we remain.

There have been times when I’ve had an itch to move out, ideally into a house, and in a more suburban hood (although still somewhat urban in spirit). We even spent some time looking at houses in Berkeley before my lay-off and CJ’s career reevaluation. And, there are many times when we bemoan our lack of space, especially storage. All of my non-Bay Area friends and family have long since been in houses, some very large.

Home As a Glimpse Into the Soul

I have periodically felt some sort of peer pressure to do the same…as if there are steps we must take at certain stages of our lives. But, there are no rules, and no requirements. We can create whatever life we long to create, barring some limitations, of course. And, thankfully, being gay actually gives us even more of a sense of this kind of freedom, because noone else is urging us forward, or expecting anything specific from the trappings of our life…which is in many ways is its own blessing.

I’ve often thought the circumstances of my life had kept me in this flat, but then realize it only seems so at first glance. Somehow, this cozy flat matches my/our sensibility so perfectly. I love to travel, indulge in local cuisine, saturate in theatre and entertainment. All that has continually proven to be more important to me than having a house. And, in this town, unless you’re loaded, you likely can’t have both!

I have a deep seeded feeling that you should only bite off as much of this world and its resources as you need. Yes, I take gratuitously long showers, and blow through way too many paper products (I ain’t no saint!), but other than that, I hope I only take my fair portion of what I need in life. I also like the communal feel of having neighbors just on the other side of a wall, not separated by a large yard or fence (perhaps a somewhat socialist view). I may not interact with them any more than someone in a ‘burb, but I think in that proximity there is a sort of intimacy…and, certainly in the sharing of a roof. I liken it a bit to public transportation. There is a leveling or equalizing effect of it…that all passengers are created equal. And, it’s enlightening to be around people from many different walks of life, even ones that smell bad, to remind you that we are all one. I haven’t been using public transport as often as when I worked on Market St., but I still do periodically.

Shadowbox made from Grandpa letterpress printing metal type drawers

Shadowbox made from Grandpa’s letterpress printing metal type drawers

In Touch With the Pulse of Life

That’s a big piece of what keeps me embedded in city life. You can look out your window at any moment and see people walking down the sidewalk, cars driving by, someone in the window across the street. That activity, and connection to the bustling heartbeat of life feeds me. I sometimes fear that a quiet neighborhood, a yard, and a fence would cut me off from that pulse.

CJ shares some of this view of the world, and the desire to connect to local community…in his quest for organic foods, weekly shopping at local farmer’s markets, much more regular use of public transport, and real commitment to composting.

We have also fallen in love with Golden Gate Park as our true backyard. Our traditional walk past The Conservatory of Flowers, the DeYoung, out around Stow Lake and back again is such a part of me, I would miss it terribly if I moved. And, although I really want a porch and garden, for now it continues to fulfill me, and is a lot less work!

And, everytime I sit down to blog, prepare a song for an audition, or take a long afternoon nap I realize that if I owned a house, some of these favorite past-times could be replaced by more housework, repairs, and/or projects.

“…but a house is not a home”

My life here with CJ has made this so much more of a home. I muse on all of our wonderful gatherings of friends and family, as well as the depth of our time here together, just the two of us, and now with the third member of our tribe, our cat Sammie. The framed “Bless This House” engrossed print from my Grandfather near our front door has so much more meaning as the years pass. Our time here has indeed been so blessed.

Although I often feel the call of life outside our home, and thankfully embrace and tackle that life with great fervor too, I also love and cherish the “nest” that is our home…the warmth (often heated like an “old folks’ home”, as CJ chides…YES, I like it on the toasty side!), the personal expression that it is (ie: art, interior design, tchotchkies, cookbooks, etc.), and both a haven from the world, as well as a reflection of that world…as we sometimes create our own challenges and barriers for each other in our own home. What couples don’t at times?

None of this is to demean how others create their sense of home, only to give thanks for ours, and honor what a true outward manifestation it is of our inner selves. Yet, it’s amazing how truly ephemeral home is (ie: Home is where you make it.”), because when we move on, this space will become a vessel for the next person’s dreams, and concept of what home is. And, wherever we move on to one day will become our new home.

I’ll let one of the soul masters tell it like it is!

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1 comment so far

  1. Lerrin on

    Thanks for pointing us to this entry from the home page- so well written, insightful, and is causing me to think about my own ‘place, in time’, at just the right time. Thank you!


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