The Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines home as “one’s place of residence” but also as “a place of origin”, which are often two very different places. If this is the case, where truly is home? The concept of home is a familiar theme in many stories. Characters often need to return home for one reason or another. Perhaps to take care of a loved one, or because of a death. Sometimes it is to find their way home during a long adventure, or even to fight an evil murderous clown. Over the years I have left and returned to the Owen Sound area for various reasons, though thankfully none of them was ever an evil clown.
After a two week holiday from school, I have unpacked my bags and am preparing for my next semester of school, which begins in a couple of hours. Here is where I now live and reside. I have a sense of a home and belonging here while I’m in school.
For the last two weeks, I have been back in Owen Sound, visiting friends and family and catching as much nature as possible. Every time I return to Owen Sound I have this vague sense of disconnection, my remembrances being torn between different timelines I’ve lived there. I find myself returning to the past. When you’ve lived somewhere a long time, there are remnants of memories scattered everywhere. Memories along every street and avenue. If you never leave and the scene is daily, those memories don’t seem to appear as often, they fade into the background. Upon returning after being gone for a while, it’s like they are a friendly pup, so happy to see you again, jumping up and trying to lick your face.
The plot changes throughout the years. Our goals and objectives shift through time. Sometimes life has been bright and cheerful, sharing wondrous times and adventures, and other times it trudges through dark times of grief or woe. History is a rich tapestry woven with so many stories along our paths. Coming home can evoke a lot of these memories, often surprising me along the way. It sometimes seems that the tiniest detail can awaken these memories in the most vivid detail. My mind seems to drift along, guided by these visual cues.
The cast of characters seems to shift between the timelines too, as people move away, other’s move back, some pass on, and others just seem to have disappeared or faded away. I find myself thinking of some of the colourful characters I’ve seen around town, like the wild woman who used to bang a hard hat on the sign and lamp posts along the street, who once stormed into Norma Jeans wearing a bright blue electric guitar and making a speedy beeline for the bathroom, and then back out into the street without a word to anyone. Seeing familiar faces I’ve known a long time, my mind skips to different remembrances along our times together. It travels along, remembering our joys and sorrows, the good, the bad, the beautiful, and the ugly.
I sometimes find it strange in these remembrances. I have always been myself, but I have been different versions of this self along the way. I sometimes lose connection with my current self and am instead a younger version of me looking at the world through those eyes, with those feelings and mindset. It is easy to get lost in this journey of the past, and I like to linger there sometimes, marveling in the past.
If home is where you reside, but also your place of origin, where truly is home? I guess it’s where it’s always been: where the heart is.