Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Opposite of Home

I have lived in Israel now for over six years. Six years. I’ve never lived in one place for six years. I’ve never lived in any other place more than two. Granted, I spent one year of the six in New York. I spent another two years moving back and forth between Vermont and Israel, studying. When my mother was ill, I spent nine months back and forth between Atlanta and Israel. We moved twice within Israel. Last year, I bought the condo in New York and have been spending 50% of my time in the US. Still, I have called Israel home for six years. Home?

I am always dreaming of new places to live. I don’t mean JUST daydreaming about more square footage, a more extensive view, a different neighborhood, though like many people I often find myself imagining how it would be to live in a different house, a different city. I mean literally dreaming, at night, about the next place. Sometimes the dreams wake me up they are so dramatic and thrilling. They are often the ones I remember in the morning or when I wake up in the middle of the night. Of course this doesn’t mean they are my only dreams, but they are often the most vivid and I suppose the last ones I have before waking. Last night, there was a long rambling house on a hillside. From the window and through the trees, I could see the ocean throwing itself against a rocky shore. I knew, in the dream, I’d lived in the building before, in a smaller apartment, with a man I used to love. This time though I was looking at it for myself, only myself. The building was old and rooms had been added over time. Rooms opened to larger rooms, to balconies, to terraces. Some rooms had regular shapes, rectangular. Other rooms were round or had oddly shaped corners. There were places to hide. I knew there would always be a surprise in this house.

Like most dream houses, I never move into this house, even in the dream.

But I recognize the impulse that Kay Ryan describes in the short poem below to be free of encumbrances, to never settle, to test what it is that is most necessary. I don’t think I’m alone.

That Will to Divest

Action creates
a taste
for itself.
Meaning: once
you've swept
the shelves
of spoons
and plates
you kept
for guests,
it gets harder
not to also
simplify the larder,
not to dismiss
rooms, not to
divest yourself
of all the chairs
but one, not
to test what
singleness can bear,
once you've begun.

1 comment:

  1. I love the Kay Ryan piece and your meanderings here. I'm in the same boat--when people ask me "where are you from?" I can't provide a good answer. But then does it matter, really?