What is it that creates a home when home is continuously changing?
It is the sense of comfort, the material safety of being surrounded by the things and people who provide continuity from one place to another.
In Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie, she remarks that “it was nice to be living in a house again” after Pa builds a fireplace and Ma places a small china statue on the mantle. The small statue is one of the few possessions they’ve managed to bring with them from the little house in the big woods. With the small statue visible in the glow of the warm fire, surrounded by her family, Laura feels as if she is home at last.
My house never feels like a home until the books are unpacked and shelved. Boxes of books are not the lightest things to move, and sadly not all of the books I read find a spot on my permanent shelf. An exception to this is the Trixie Belden series of books. These were the first books I absolutely fell in love with as a child and rereading them transports me back to the carefree days of childhood. It evokes that feeling of warmth and security you hold close knowing that all is right with the world, for now. Just the sight of these books on my shelf is a not a reminder of time’s continual passing, but of the memories I choose to keep in my heart.
My numerous relocations were not always to the places I wished to be. There were places I loved and places I was glad to leave, but through a lifetime of moves, I have never been without those things that make my house a home. In the weeks and months following a move, we are able to begin the process of rebuilding our lives in a new place.
But there are those whose paths I cross who have not experienced that same continuity of home. They find themselves without the security and comfort I take for granted daily. They are without a sanctuary to call home. I have moved, but I have never fled my home. I have discarded items I could live without, but I have never left everything I owned behind. I move and take with me the physical pieces of my past, I am never left with just memories.