A search for home.
I wake to a vibrant red horizon. A moment in space and in time when all the earth seems suspended. Suspended between darkness and light, between self and other, home and abandon. A moment when the stars of night still shin bright but the coming of warmth begins to cascade across the contours of our land. This dance of shadow, and of light, revealed in an ombre of reds and oranges scattered across the sky. This moment I feel at peace, at home. A fleeting instance that retreats almost as fast as the darkness of night in the coming of the day. I share this with with all of you. All who have been and who will ever be. A time, a moment, to call this place right here, under the stars, under the void, home.
It can be a physical structure in the world, like a rustic home where your grandparents blood, sweat, and tears were built into the very walls themselves. It can be a geological locale. A city, town, or sprawling metropolis where you share community. A place can hold this special title for a myriad of different reasons. Each of which, only the occupants can know. It may be for community, for friends and family, or for a feeling of solace. For comfort. For support.
Home can be an individual. A mother, a father, a spouse or a friend. A place where we confide when times are tough, when traveling alone, or when we are unsure about the future paths ahead. This person, this place, this companion, shows us that we are loved. Cared for. Special.
All of these ideas in one way or another have been home to me. My childhood home in the country, the rolling hills of Arkansas where I learned to build forts, to stretch my legs in open fields, to feel the rusty barbwire against my skin as I created passage for those friends fortunate enough to share moments in that sacred place. This place, existing somewhere between imagination and actuality forged friendships as strong as our swords and no doubt armored each of us for the battle of futures ahead.
As I grew older my idea of home changed, it adapted, like I did. Moving from open places, from from forests and fields, from sacred to suburbia. From fields of hay to fields of study. An exploration of the outside world turned to an exploration of knowledge, an exploration of what was inside. As I discovered college I discovered more about the world, more about myself. My place changing and adapting in a course that was as much charted as discovered. Simultaneously influenced by both self and other in a tempest of fate and futures that none could have ever known.
But where am I now? Where is home to a 30 year old mountain guide who can barely answer that question in any meaningful way? It's here. Right here. And as I travel to wild places and attempt to climb the mountains of the world I know that I am climbing the mountains of my soul. Home, yet again is a place of change, Nature's greatest delight.
Home to me is becoming my place of solace. My minuscule locus of control. A forced adoption of an age-old concept. Life on the road, in the mountains, in the snow, has forced me to look in rather than out. To look to the self rather than to a place. To discover that home is everywhere and nowhere at all. That quiet place behind your eyes where no One ever really goes.
Home is in the hills, in labored breaths and burning muscles. It's is in the darkness behind closed eyes and in the moments of silence high above the desert floor.
Home is in the discovery of adventure and the bitter cold just before the sun's first light. It's in the eyes of those men, those women, who take your breath away.
Am I saying that I am never lonely, never scared, never afraid of what’s to come? God, No. I'm human. And like any other of my kind, I am just picking up the pieces along the way. Those fragments of the past stitched together by the "I" to attempt to build a future for tomorrow. I catch myself moving forward into life, into the future, into the unknown with only an idea of what is to come, a flexible conception built from the past and thrust into the present that sometimes wins and sometimes loses. An understanding that every now and again, I can flow effortlessly along the path of life and when asked where is home to me, I can answer resoundingly, "Here."I can only do that and hope to find my way.
I move forward with an honesty to my life and my endeavors that is both idealistic and realistic. An irrational optimism to the nature of human life. Maybe home is found in this endeavor, maybe its something different altogether. The only way to truly know is to embark on the adventure of your life and find out where the journey leads. To look to the sky, the mountains, the stars, and know that we all share this place. This home.
Thanks to all of you who have, and continue to, make these wild places home...