I read an editorial in Smithsonian the other day, and it made me really stop and think about Home. I am in the business of helping people buy and sell homes, so it’s easy to get into the mindset of homes as products. This really defines home as the place people go to nest, doesn’t it? Move the nest; the building isn’t home anymore; the NEXT building is home…the place where the nest rests.
If that is true, then home is a building where a group of people gather and it can be anywhere. The Smithsonian article said that original homes might have been a campfire around which the usual group of people gathered, day after day. But I say, it wasn’t the campfire…it was the people around it who constituted home. I wouldn’t feel at home looking across a crackling fire at a stranger…would you?
So home is not a building or even a place; rather, it’s the people who gather there, over and over, day after day. It’s the ones you know will show up, the ones who always come to the campfire. Gather: It implies a voluntary movement towards some central point…in our analogy, a campfire. You don’t call it a gathering if the ones there were forced to go there, or went on their own, reluctantly. It’s a gathering if people just come, over and over, day after day. You can depend on it, in other words. Home eliminates a lot of unknowns, then, if you have the same ones gathering, every day, day after day: you know they will be there. It feels safe.
If you think about all of that, it sounds wonderful, except that there are people who show up every day, day after day, to suck the life out of you and one day toss your carcass aside. Hahahaha. That’s not pretty, now is it? So home must also imply some level of mutual goodness, mutual protectiveness, some level of nobody being a bloodsucker. There are a lot of bloodsuckers out there, people! You know its true.
So…it ain’t all good, just because people gather. Home must be a gathering of people (and cats) who have everyone’s best interest at heart…really care about one another and are interested in others’ wellbeing as much as one’s own (might be a bit of a stretch for the cats). Now that beats a building all day long, don’t you think?
And you thought I was going to be serious. I tried; I really did. But…not a chance.