Weather Diaries - 1. Home is a Feeling
Things I will miss about New York when I leave: 1. Subway rats - these fuckers can thrive in one of the most inhospitable habitats on Earth.
2. My friends - crazy people who hold faith in me. I still don’t know why.
3. Dawn on the harbor - few grimier, lovelier sights on earth.
4. Frankness - A New Yorker tells you to your face that you look like shit or that you’re in the way. Take it as a compliment. It means they care.
And not in that order.
Home is a feeling, warm like the sun
Inside everyone needs a safe place to run
I’m starting with the truth, because there’s so little to go around. And I’m writing it down to remember, how I felt, to keep the memory crisp and within reach, undaunted by rotting time.
Jaivonne told me–balancing a clipboard on her knee–that the five stages of grief come and go, and not necessarily in chronological order. That many could come within the span of a day. A few hours. But certain stages in our lives happen in very much the same way, like weather. Unlike weather, though, things never come in in the order we think they ought to.
It’s September and instead of working on my grant proposal at home, I’m crashing on a daybed in the spare room of a lovely couple’s home. My whole body aches from packing up all my belongings and dumping them into a total of seven boxes. That was it: My life, in seven boxes. One for each day of the week that I watched my world collapse into itself. In my mind’s eye, I could see the ship sinking–from far away on a bobbing lifeboat– watching the blown-apart hull taking in water. It was here that I wondered about why I didn’t miss home yet. My writing nook, the cozy kitchen, the bay window that looked out onto the copper-faced courthouse, my old life, now unreachable.
I made pie for the couple, carefully weaving the lattice crust in their kitchen.
I’d never been allowed into the kitchen of my home. I was a messy culinary sojourner, and my mother was battled her lack of control with cleanliness. The kitchen had laboratory standards. Every crumb, grain of sugar, or strand of hair made her furious, enough to ban us indefinitely from the room. So many people associate home with their kitchen, memories of mothers and grandmas with flour-dusted hands, showing them how to use cookie cutters for holiday cookies. But these memories are absent in me. To this day, I burn dishes, short on practice and time, cranking up the gas and setting off the fire alarm. My one goal being that I don’t accidentally kill anyone.
I think about what that means in the grand scale of development. How I’ve graduated with a Bachelor’s and I still manage to burn my flapjacks, four years away from my thirties.
But something about the hearth keeps tugging at me, and I realize it’s inevitability as I push a rolling pin over pliant pie crust, cognizant of the feeling of self-sufficient satisfaction I’m experiencing from creating food. The lifeblood of people. The glue that holds culture together. And this concept makes me think–this feeling that I’ve wanted so long, this peace, this quiet focus on a humble but important task with a clearly delineated beginning, middle, and end. There was a zen to making pie, you were bringing about your own survival with your own hands. Something so ancient, that provided joy to others.
Run to the morning, faster than the sun
Someone is there waiting, yes, she's the one
Washed by the warm tide, dried by the sunrise
It's time to open your eyes to a feeling, feeling
To a feeling
That night we piled steaming towers of eggplant parm onto our plates, web-thin strings of cheese connecting our dinner to the casserole pan. Over wine and pie, we talked in the low-light of the dining room, laughing like banshees. And I felt that peace radiate from me, a huge love that thrummed, for the people seated at the table, for every friend and loved one that had come out of the woodwork just to help in a time when I felt most ashamed to ask for a hand.
It was only until I began the process of leaving home that I realized home was something I carried around, unchecked by the walls of any building. It was only when I found myself alone that I felt so connected to life around myself.
Life is like a weather pattern. Seasons and their lessons come and go, impermanent as joy. And here I was, picking up and starting fresh all over again, determined to enjoy every moment of it.
Home in the morning, first light of dawn
I love that feeling, feeling, feeling