“So, where’s Home for you then?”. This simple question got me thinking, asking myself what this little word really means.
Is it necessarily a place that I “own”? (Whatever that really means, given that if you have a mortgage, it’s really the lender who, in the end “owns” it)
Is it a place I rent? Does the security or duration of my tenure make a difference?
Is it anywhere I feel is the ‘right’ place to be?
Is it even a place at all?
This thought struck me as I looked out of the window at a friend’s place that he rents in north Wales. I realised I feel very much ‘at home’ in this rural, rough and functional, beautiful, thinly-populated kind of place.
It’s forming the theme for a small series of paintings, starting with that window, with the bright, paper, sailboat or kite on the window-ledge.
The ideas of “owning” and “home” remind me of a teaching discussion I had, several years ago, with the Ven. Kusalo, a theravadan Buddhist monk who was staying in the area at the time. He questioned the notion and true nature of “ownership” …. “Think about what it really means in practice…” His approach to it was, if you are maintaining mindfulness, wherever you are is “home”. He went on to explain that, in that period of time you can enjoy and appreciate it in just the same way as the legal “owner”, so where is the difference? Indeed possibly you can appreciate it more because you are free of the associated burdens of cost, taxes, maintenence and the worry of security and potential loss; accepting its impermanence in your life allows you to move on when you leave and “own” something else – the bus stop, station, your own lodgings, mansion or flat.
I’m writing this in a lovely bungalow by the sea. For a long time it was “home”, though it “belongs” to a good friend. I live now in a city inland, following the work, in a small flat that I rent; I do feel more at home out here on the edge of the land, though.
And, for now, until I leave in the morning, it is….