Home September 1, 2013
HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS–Pliny the Elder
I don’t believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.
We must let go of the life we have planned so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.
Earlier in the week, I drove with some new American friends over many kilometers up and down and in and out and roundabout through the farmlands or rural France. We were on our way from Auvillar, a village on the Garrone River where I have been living for the past week or so to drop one of them off at a point along the Chemin Des Saint-Jaques (the way of Saint James) where she would walk for several days. We passed field upon field of sunflowers, soon to be harvested and made into oil. Occasionally the roads were straight and lined with huge sycamore trees planted by Napoleon during the French Revolution to keep his troops cool as they marched along. Sometimes the roads were old and patched, mostly they were curved and again and again we passed fields, haystacks and tiny villages on hilltops each with a steeple pointing high in the sky.
Certainly it was all a big adventure. It has left me grateful for the experience as well as pondering the meaning of home. Besides being a physical thing, I think “home” is a place I carry within me, in my heart, the very core of who I am. At present, I have left the town, the friends, the house itself, all that I call home in a very physical sense to visit a new world a continent away. Here in the midst of a language I do not know, a place I have never been, I am living next to the Garrone River in the port of a small village called Auvillar. The church down the road a few buildings from me was built in the year 900. History here is palpable.
What do I know about where I am? Certainly, I have seen more sunflowers than I could ever imagine. I have eaten strawberries sweeter than any I have ever known. The cheese I have bought–chevre, roquefort and so much more–all of it is food for the gods, as is the local honey. Bees are everywhere in the flowers which fill the streets.
Just like back home people recycle and are concerned about the environment. I hear conversations about how different fruits are late or early depending upon how they were affected by weather that is changing . In one of my favorite mystery series, centered in Venice, the young daughter of the main character is counting gas miles and eschewing water drunk out of plastic bottles.
We carry our sense of home, our love of it and longing for it with us all the time, and everywhere. One world, a big world, our world, it is our home.
Many thanks to the people of VCCA France, the town of Auvillar, the artists, the merchants, the travelers, the new friends made and the kind people on the streets for loving where they live and sharing it with those of us who are traveling through, on the chemin or as a visitor for a longer time.