Thursday Tidbits: The Whole World That is Home

This week’s Thursday Tidbits considers home, in particular the miles and years that make up the distance between what was home and what is home. It is surprising how far one will travel only to discover that one was always home.

Just recently, I made such a trek, a physical distance of over 2000 miles, and a trip in the making for many years. Some months ago, I finally made the plane reservations and as much as possible, I went into training by increasing my daily exercise and experimenting with different foods.

There was never a doubt the trip would require much more of me than the everyday life I have come to know.

I flew across the United States, leaving the subtropical climate of the American South for the high plains desert of the American West. It is no exaggeration to say that I went from sea level to a mile high in a matter of hours. My body is still recovering.

KMHuberImage
KMHuberImage

Of course, there is no way to prepare for such a trip home, even one without such altitude extremes for what was home is now another place entirely with a life and tempo all its own. It is, essentially, no longer home.

“lift the veil
that obscures the heart
and there
you will find
what you are looking for”
Kabir (India, 15th century)

A visit to a location that was home requires us to open our eyes to what that hometown is now, a place we no longer call home and a place that no longer calls to us, save in memory. That is the veil we lift if we are to experience home at all.

There are streets not much changed and others completely new but already familiar to those who now make this town their home. There are new houses with new lives, making memories, and old houses no longer in evidence, not even a brick or board, but in memory they remain home.

The hours I spent in my former hometown— long enough to see the sun set and rise—was a constant barrage of sixties moments competing with the growth that marks us all, the march of time. The torrent of memories rained into the next few days, as we drove across one state into another, all familiar roads like the town that once was home.

For over four decades, the wide-open, windy vistas of the American West defined me–birth, youth, adulthood, and most of middle age—place was prominent in my life that was, often the only anchor in tempest-tossed seas.

KMHuberImage
KMHuberImage

It is not lost on me that I mix the imagery of that past life–so arid and wild–with the life I have now, not as wild nor arid at all.

The place that I call home has changed from desolate, vast plains and mountain slopes of snow to the verdant green carpet surrounding Waverly pond as well as the Gulf of Mexico, blue beneath towering palms. And I have changed with it.

Now a sexagenarian, home is among the live Oaks draped with moss, creating one canopy road after another. In every season, something blooms or yet another color emerges in the ever-changing foliage. There is lushness in my later years and for me, that is as it should be.

I came late to the realization of “If you look for the Truth outside yourself, it gets farther and farther away” (Tung Shan). Yet, without those early years of traversing the high plains desert that held my heart, I might never have realized that what I sought was always within me.

KM Huber Image
KM Huber Image

My trip home, these many years later, confirmed a life lived is just that, which is a lot. Driving across the desert plains in spring, I saw that old life in every sagebrush stock, rock outcropping, or hogback hill that whisked by my window. It all passed so quickly—just as it had when I lived it–vast and sweeping but complete in itself.

The whole world is you,
yet you keep thinking
there is something else.”
~ Hsueh Feng

For years, I thought there was something else but as I have shared on this blog many times, what is inside each one of us is the whole world that is each one of us. What is inside us colors the way we are in the world, for our everyday lives are a mere reflection of what is in our hearts.

The two regions I have called home are worlds apart geographically and geologically, and I am grateful for the gifts of each, for only now is home no longer a location but the whole world that I am in any place, in any moment.

Thursday Tidbits are weekly posts that offer choice bits of information to celebrate our oneness with one another through our unique perspectives. It is how we connect, how we have always connected but in the 21st century, the connection is a global one.

23 thoughts on “Thursday Tidbits: The Whole World That is Home

  1. We do indeed carry home with us – and must, if we are to be comfortable with our lives – but there is always something about place – the places we lived, loved, laughed – that draws us back to them. especially the home of our youth. Places framed by memory and experience – unique to each individual.

    I left my home town of Napier, NZ when I was 18 and moved to Wellington. That’s over 30 years ago, but I’ve got family there and spend a good deal of time in ‘the Bay’. It’s a curious thing; I find my immediate memories of ‘Napier today’ interpose shape over my memories of Napier as-it-was in the 1970s.- I often find myself remembering events then against the setting – the buildings, parks, plants and gardens – of what become a very changed town today. An inevitable trick of the mind, I suspect.

    I’m glad you were able to make that journey! Good on you. And what wonderful photos you’ve taken of that awesome Wyoming scenery.

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    1. I agree that events and setting are often tied together, at least for me, and as you say, without home within, we are not comfortable with our lives. Always appreciate your thoughtful comments, Matthew.
      Karen

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  2. Time acts on place like a change of tides. Each tide rearranges what is left on the shore. New things are deposited, old washed away. When we leave a place we carry with us the memory of one tide, a fixed constellation long gone.

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    1. Beyond being so beautifully written, your comment, Adrian, is geologically spot-on. Wyoming was an inland sea as was Florida, and what that has meant for each is almost the opposite of the other i.e., Wyoming is over a mile high and Florida can be lower than sea level yet in both there is evidence of almost identical ancient tides.
      Karen

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  3. So very true…especially since we share that same hometown! Thought the same things when I was back there in March to spread my mom’s ashes on the mountain. Also glad to call Florida home now, and glad you’re part of it!

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    1. Oh, Lizzie, you were on my mind the entire time. It is so amazing that only in Florida did we find one another, perhaps to share all the years we did not.
      Karen

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  4. Karen,
    Welcome back. Your post reminds me of the T.S. Eliot quote: “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 glad you found home again. {{{hugs]}} Kozo

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    1. Oh, Kozo! The Eliot quote is perfect, and I was not aware of it. Home never leaves us but I suspect we leave it, from time to time. Looking forward to catching up with your posts, my friend.
      Karen

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  5. What a wise and yet joyful account! I am so glad you were able to make this journey, even if with mixed feelings. I gather it was not a disappointment as although memories can take on a different glow and nothing stays the same as it was you are able to be true to yourself. I find it so difficult to separate myself from places I know and have known.

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    1. Thanks, Diana! It is only recently–these past few years, really–that I am able to separate myself from place. Frankly, Beth described it in her comment better than I ever could–awareness–now my relationship with place is more than it ever was but in a totally different way. The trip was full of gifts, as you surmise.
      Karen

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  6. thanks for that beautiful in-sightful post, still the southwest, the desert landscape and all its unusual land formations calls and sings….isn’t it amusing how much searching goes on when “home” is always here now. Yet, we namaskar to the silliness of it ay? And keep on walking….

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  7. Today’s post brings such a sense of connectedness. I appreciate your willingness (and effort) to prepare for the trip home and then to “see” that former place, what you call the ‘vast sweep’ (I’m thinking time, people, events, as well as place), and then to return home again, to the palms and the water, recognizing how you have changed, how the ‘place’ around you has not, but you yet rejoice in your true home, which is awareness. Your posts help me celebrate being a sexagenarian all over again!

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  8. “There is lushness in my later years and for me, that is as it should be.” This line made me smile. I’m happy for you–glad you made the trip, glad you found home.

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