Home

DSCF1030.JPGWe’ve been thinking and talking a lot over the past few days about the notion of ‘home’ and what it means. Home for the last six weeks or so has been Lotte, wherever she is, a little hermetically sealed bubble where we are warm and comfortable and safe, with our things and of course our cats. But at an even more fundamental level home is a geographical concept, a place with which we identify, for whatever reasons. For me, it’s quite clear that home is Glasgow because that’s where I know myself to be from, and where almost everyone with whom I have a blood relation still lives. For Dee that’s a bit less clear since she left the place where she brought up when she was eighteen, and her immediate family is scattered across several countries in two continents. But her chosen home from the age of eighteen was Edinburgh, so in that sense both of us are at home in Scotland.

Home is where the heart is. That’s easy then, physiologically speaking at least, home is where I am physically present, as long as I have a pulse. But emotionally inexplicable – is one’s heart with a person, a place, a set of cicumstances? Wherever I lay my hat, that’s my home. What’s the cultural and emotional charge in the notion of laying one’s hat?

Maybe it’s easier to understand what is not home. Home is not here. Here is not home. Here feels quite strange, even when we enjoy and appreciate the strangeness, it’s still strange.

In German, home is ‘Heim’. But ‘heimlich’ (literally ‘homely’) means secret, kept to oneself, not shared. And ‘unheimlich’ means weird, uncanny, unnatural. Not being at home means being uneasy.

One thing at least is clear – home is not and will not be Alsace. Lovely as it is, we will not be making a home for ourselves here. We’ll be taking our little portable home somewhere else where we feel more at ease.

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