Friday, October 31, 2014

Engagement with Home


In Good Stories this week, we moved ahead into the second half of our major textbook, Bryan Boyd’s Origin of Stories. Part 4 focuses on The Odyssey with a particular look at the goal of the story and the obstacles along the way. Boyd’s analysis of Odysseus’ goal and tasks serves as a model for us individually to design our final digital media productions.
         Odysseus’ goal is portrayed around his persistent drive for going home. Even in reflecting on our discussion yesterday, my being vibrates in the resonance of that theme. While it’s different for me from the way my college-student collaborators, some forty years younger, must feel it, I still believe “going home” strikes an eternally resonant chord. Perhaps you, too, hear ET in the background, with that plaintive cry; or we may sound further back to S&G’s Homeward Bound (“home where my love lies waiting/silently for me…” full lyrics shown here ).  Or, like the look I saw in the eyes of yesterday’s classroom, our gaze homeward may move even beyond the horizon of time.
         Of course, any of us who have tried to find the place of childhood, knows the disappointment of growing up, of disillusion, of finding clay-footed places and people, even ourselves. For me, there’s been poignancy in realizing that the Texas of my youth has morphed into a mismatch with my “mature years.”


"Yesterdays" 

Anson TX 1953ish            &                      Oct 30 2014 

And, yet now, I’m wondering about a meaning of home that expresses an engagement, where that warmth and recognition of belonging comes more in the fidelity forged between the inner landscape and the outer connection.
         Home has been explained as something that moves with a person. To some extent, I get that; but I also experience the embrace of the place we are now stewarding.


          Tending to the inner counts, like I’m doing now in drafting this post while sitting, pre-dawn, in front of our softly-burning wood stove, with its warm orange flames, sipping freshly brewed coffee; and yet inner space tended by meditation and reflection cannot be sundered from my gratitude for the falling leaves and more for those yet clinging with moving shades of yellow, gold, and red. Our love of those trees as well as the berry bushes, the barn, the bird-feeder when snow makes foraging nigh impossible—these bits of mindfulness make home, too.
         Yesterday, my thirty-something daughter and I shared a few hours, and among other things we talked about a location for her new home as her place in Colorado sells. Lauren has just returned from a week in Costa Rica where her employer is developing a site. She doesn’t feel that’s the place. She works out of San Francisco mostly but that’s not home to her either, neither is London where she’ll likely be next week. Australia looks interesting, she says, along with the hobbit side of New Zealand.
         Longing, the on-and-off focus of Good Stories, goes hand in glove with the goal of going home.

         My daughter’s voyage toward home, with an inner journey at least as rich as her world tour, seems foreign to mine.  And I don’t expect my college students, a decade younger than Lauren, will construct a meaning of home the way either of us do. And yet, going home still makes for a common goal, so that given all our differences we can hold together while we each and in our companionship imagine or way home.