|Product dimensions:||4.90(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Searching for Home
For as long as I can remember, I have returned to the question: How can I feel at home in the world? As an Air Force brat, I had sixteen addresses before I left high school and twenty-one more after that.
Home was an elusive destination. Like the horizon, it was always receding, beyond reach no matter how fast I chased it. Because my family kept moving, home remained not only an elusive somewhere but also a perpetual someday. I longed to have a permanent place to which I belonged, and which would keep safe all my memories of family, friendship, and youthful discovery. For me it became romanticized into an image of a cozy house whose attic was filled with toys, scrapbooks, antique photographs, and outgrown clothes—the tangible perfume of holidays, birthdays, and rites of passage. Feeling at home became the goal of my life; it inspired everything I did.
With all that moving from place to place, I learned to act quickly to connect with people, to grow familiar with my surroundings, and to make friends. I wanted to feel, touch, sing, dance, love, explore, collect, drink, paint, walk, and see everything. Somewhere in all that active engagement I could surely find, or create, the place I sought. At some point I made the unconscious decision that survival meant embracing instability. Home would be wherever I happened to be.
I envied people whose houses had attics stuffed with childhood memorabilia. I gravitated toward friends with large, extended families, saying yes to dinner invitations whenever a grandmother might be at the table. Grandparents symbolized a warm, intimate connection with the past, especially a specific past of a specific family. I had known my own grandparents so briefly in the flurry of moving back and forth across countries and continents and had missed connecting through them to their own homes and origins. I missed being in touch with their rootedness in the era that had led to my own. I longed to ask an elder about her favorite memories, but by the time I reached out, the elders had slipped away. I acquired the sorts of rich, varied, and messy memories that only a wanderer can accumulate. Each encounter took the form of a question: Will this place, person, or act take root and sprout, grow tall and stay with me for the long run?
Perhaps because I had no roots to hold me tight to one path or one place, I was free to explore. In the process I have filled each event in my life with as much color, movement, and awareness as it could hold.
The quest for home has provided me with incredible joys, silly fun, and adventure as well as many awkward moments and occasional terrors. Along the way my attitude of curiosity helped to open doors, metaphorical as well as literal, which would otherwise have remained shut.
This book contains some tales of a life lived with all senses wide open. What follows is a close reading of the worlds contained in ordinary events, the eternities enmeshed in the body’s enjoyment of the senses. Plunging into life with a sense of adventure has reinforced my capacity for excitement and heightened my sensitivity to everything I touch.
This is the story of my journey home.
Table of ContentsIntroduction
Part One: How We Touch the World
Grasp: The Right Fit
Moving: Higher, Faster, Farther
Color Wheel: the Magenta Jacket v
Acts of Renewal: Meditations of the Hand
Putting on Makeup
Shape Shifting: Baking Bread
Personal Shape Shifting
Expanding the body: Favorite Clothing
Dining by Candlelight
Rites of Memory
Making Mud Pies
Lost or Found
Part 2: How the World Touches Us
Climbing Amboy Crater
The Gravity of Dawn
Swimming in the Rain
Crushing Bay Leaves
The bicyclist and the French Lavender
Russian Leather: my mother's perfume
Visual Intimacy: Mirrors
Innocent Leg and Jumping Cholla
Attack of the yellow jackets
Island in the Sky
Fridays on Westcliff
Loss: Ceremonies of Death
Part 3: Inside the Flame
A Well-Made Home
Something from Nothing
Too-Near and No-Where
The Space of Mid-Air
The Overwhelmingly Generic
The New and Unknown
Going to Extremes
Defining Moments: Diving through the Waves
Watching Movies, Extending Space
Defining Moments: Flying with my Father
Painting the Rock
Defining Moments: Grand Canyon Sunset
Defining Moments: The Rain Forest
Defining Moments: Tree Falling on Car
Defining Moments: Brahms in London
All Roads Lead to Home