Saturday, July 15, 2006
Home sweet home
Kathryn Heyman's article 'There's no place like home' was published in today's
Good Weekend magazine supplement of The Age newspaper.
The author, an Australian, lived in England and Scotland, but was homesick for the landscapes of Australia, yet when back at 'home' longed for the soft landscapes of Britain. Her words resonate for me because the flat, barren landscapes of the Australian Mallee is always there in my memory. Yet I am content in Geelong, a provincial city by Corio Bay. I also long for the various greens of Fiji's lushness and forests as well as the babasiga and talasiga rolling grass-covered hills of western Viti Levu and also Macuata in Vanua Levu.
Kathryn Heyman wrote: Increasingly, we live lives of movement; emigration is a small matter, at least in terms of practicalities. We find lovers who belong to other places, we move to be with them, or they with us. Careers blossom, and invite permanent travel. Perhaps, though…. to imply that place, and our connection to it, matters more than we can dare admit. In constantly shifting town, state and continent - in endlessly seeking the new - we lose not just the familiar, but also the sense of physical roots.
Absence of home, the being cut loose, creates a kind of freedom. Like adolescents escaping from the parental abode, we become able to test out new identities, to find other selves lurking within. Yet without rediscovering home, I suspect we are unable to truly grow up. Home implies not just rest and ease, but work and commitment. …The trick, of course, is to recognise Elsewhere for what it is, and - perhaps harder - to know Here, or home, when we find it.