The Sense of Being “Home”

Saturday, January 22, 2011
Waning Moon
Celtic Tree Month of Rowan

Now that I have a place in which I love living, I don’t like to leave it. I’ve always suffered from what friends call “itchy feet.” No, it’s not some kind of a fungus. It’s a need to travel. I love traveling, seeing new places. A place will “call” to me, and then I can’t rest until I’ve gone there and experienced it. Sometimes it stops calling. Sometimes — in the cases of Scotland and New Orleans and Iceland — the call gets even stronger once I’ve visited, and I long to go back.

I always felt that way about the Cape. My dad was transferred to NY for work in the late 1960s, and immediately, we spent time going to either the Cape or the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The Cape always spoke to me. I always felt I belonged here, in a way I never felt anywhere else.

Once I made the decision to go into the production end of theatre, rather than write full-time, the Cape was not an option. Yes, the Cape has a lot of theatre, and a lot of GOOD theatre. But it doesn’t have Broadway, and I wanted Broadway. There’s only one Broadway and it’s in NY.

I got Broadway, and I kept visiting the Cape as often as I could. For quite a few years now, it’s been my birthday destination. I talked a lot about wanting to live there, but, as long as I worked on Broadway, that’s not an option. A four hour plus commute each way each day? No. Once I left the city proper and commuted in from the burbs, three hour round trip, it was too much.

As I wrote more and tech’d less, the possibility of the Cape came up again. And, when the opportunity presented itself (okay, so I sort of created it) last fall, I jumped.

Now, I live on the Cape. I feel connected to the land. I’m getting to know the little patch I’m currently stewarding, and the surrounding area. I’m learning as much as I can about local flora and fauna, and how best to nurture them. I feel connected to the sanctuaries I walk, the beeches, even the small village sidewalks. Instead of a sense of longing, which I had for so many years, I feel a sense of BElonging.

It’s a wonderful feeling and I hope it grows, but there is a flip side. I don’t want to leave. As I drive towards the bridge, I can feel my home tugging at me. When I cross the bridge and keep going (as opposed to, say, going to Target in Wareham and returning), I feel the sense of longing again. It’s a physical sensation as much as a psychological one, and I spend a lot of my time and energy while away missing my home.

As someone who’s never been homesick (and never had much patience for those who are–stop whining and enjoy where you are already), this is a new and disconcerting sensation. I retain the capacity to enjoy where I am — and I take full advantage of it when I travel for work because you never know when the next gig is, so soak up as much as you can because someday, it will come in useful to the writing. But I always feel the house, the yard, and the Cape itself, tugging at me, reminding me to come home.

As I return to the Cape, I feel lighter and happier the closer I get to home. When I cross the MA border, my shoulders relax and stress lifts off and flies away like a bird. When I cross the bridge to the Cape, I’m practically giddy with joy. When I return to the house, I walk through it calling out to the cats AND the spirit of the place (both the house and the yard have very distinct spirits of place — call them Lares, like the Romans, or Devas, or whatever you want — they’re there and they want attention).

It’s a new experience for me — having a place where I truly feel “at home.”