I just asked Raul, owner of Hosal Cruzita where I spent last night, for his definition of home.
He paused from wiping the table and replied, “A place for peace, comfort, where you relax. Esparanza; if you have a house you have dreams.”
Most dictionaries describe ‘home’ as a physical place/building where one lives; a geographical place where one has lived or was raised; a native habitat for animals and plant life; a place where personal belongings are stored – where a group of people reside.
From modest dwellings to grand mansions, our choices of ‘home’ often depend on where we are located and our financial options. Those who live in shoebox-sized homes usually dream of living in mansions, where those who reached mansion status often wander through their golden prisons and wonder why they feel so alone.
Whether grand or modest, home provides a resting place, a solace from the days’s trials. We return home with anticipation of letting down our guards, collapsing for a minute or more and doing nothing but breathing in the place we’ve carved as our sanctuary. Our cats and dogs greet us with ‘Welcome Home’ greetings and bask in our presence. We reach for a favorite book or reflect on photos that captured memories of special moments. With anticipation, we inspect the growth of a lovingly-planted tree or frown if the scarlet geranium has dropped its blossoms. Some of us long for a comforting end-of-day cocktail served in one of Grandmother’s crystal glasses then retreat to Great-Aunt Lucy’s rocking chair on the front porch. Others might pour a freshly-made maracuya juice and retreat to the hammock stretched between two almendro trees.
Home. We can pull up roots and move anywhere and take our memories of home with us. We select the most valuable items to take with us; some are documents of importance, photographs and books. Also important are the linens, kitchen and bath items, and furniture if possible. Of course one should take Grandmother’s nicked blue and white china platter that served crispy fried chicken or the carved wooden ‘fishing cat’ that jumped of the china cabinet and scared Miss Margaret half to death! Home isn’t the actual physical shelter; it’s those tidbits and memories that transform a structure into a home. Home coddles us, protects us from extreme weather; it’s our cocoon.
My dear friends in Colorado are presently transplanted to a hotel while they await news on the fires that threaten their home. “We do not know if our house has been burned down or not,” they wrote in yesterday’s email.
Take a moment to reflect on where you are in life and be grateful for that place that you call, ‘home.’