Poem: Paradoxically Home

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Paradoxically Home

I grew up in Richmond, Virginia,
capital of the Confederacy,
a place where they still at times
seem to be fighting the War of Northern Aggression,
steeped in history, some of it familial,
I lived in the suburbs, a stone’s throw from the city
in everything but culture.

As a boy, I spent summers in Surry County,
home of my grandfather’s farm and my father’s roots.
I grew roots there on the sandy soil,
watched pig birth, wrestled chickens necks till they died,
wandered in the woods, learned to escape to the quiet,
a thing I still do at every opportunity.

I drifted into adulthood in the mountains of Virginia.
Married there. Divorced there. Became something new,
more corporate, less artistic, a life that was less mine
when I left than when I began,
more subject to the opinion of others
than I like to admit. Still, I came to my spiritual self
in those decades, learned every back roads
of Botetourt County. I let the soil seep into my bones.
I began the raising of my kids there.

I near died there as well. Not my body. That shell of mine
is fairly tough, but my soul, my spirit, the things
that make me, me. I fell into darkness there
and began the long journey back.

And now, I am a decade and more in Vermont.
This is where I healed.
This is where I sifted through the remains
and chose what to keep and what to discard.
It is where I learned the treasure of peace,
where I reclaimed my children’s love,
where I found love, the real thing,
deep and abiding and never easy and never
less than exciting and nourishing.
I have become whole.

Stay in a place long enough, they say,
and you find it is home. Perhaps.
I am not there. None of them feel like home.
None of them feel like strange places.

Perhaps they are all home.
Perhaps I bring home with me,
or perhaps a place is home
only as long as it is filled with love and adventure
and a chance to change safely.

And when that safety is gone?

It is not home.
It is time to change, and let the wind carry you
like dandelion seeds to new meadows
where you can settle or grow.
A new season
in a new place.

About this poem

I feel sometimes that I have four homes. And I feel sometimes I have none. It is a strange thing that less pondering souls have the sense not to dwell on.

The picture was taken on one of the local side roads here in Vermont.

Tom

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