“Home” and the impossible assessment of the present

For years the idea of moving to New York City was a thing we said with the “when”  defined as “someday.”

Then, during our 2016 annual “planning the year” session, we decided: let’s finally make this happen in Fall ’16.  How about we tour in Weston (our Westfalia) with #Comments to Seattle in June, hang out for a couple of months (to help fix up my Mom’s house and visit friends/family…and put together a family reunion), then head over to our new home (without having a home, yet)?

Camping in Kansas in our Weston home

Check.  In Seattle, we booked an AirBnB in Brooklyn for a month, allowing us to search for a place to live. We made our way back across the country in about a month, stopping to screen #Comments in a few places before arriving to our one-month locale in Bed-Stuy.

After the co-op buying did not pan out (yet), we found a super huge (750 sf) apartment in Harlem and love it — the neighborhood and the people.

But I’m still wondering — when does a place become home?  With a job? Friends? When working on music or art projects, or being involved with animal advocacy, resumes?

The idea of NYC is something I remind myself of daily, sort of a pinching.  We’re here.  The dream has happened.  Yet it feels, at least for now, as more of a displacement.  As though we’re still finding our way to walk when the ship is rocking (and not just our ship: the country itself.  Its inhabitants. The fear of the forthcoming administration, and what bore it).

I remind myself that we were home-free for around six months.  Of course it takes time to settle in.  We’ve only been in our new home for a month. But as with most experiences, it is the memory of the past that defines the present assessment moreso than the current experiencing.  Time must age on its own accord.

Such is the lesson conveyed in one of my favorite passages by Nikos Kazantzakis, the Cretan author. The following excerpt is from Zorba the Greek:

I remember one morning when I discovered a cocoon in the back of a tree just as a butterfly was making a hole in its case and preparing to come out. I waited awhile, but it was too long appearing and I was impatient. I bent over it and breathed on it to warm it. I warmed it as quickly as I could and the miracle began to happen before my eyes, faster than life. The case opened; the butterfly started slowly crawling out, and I shall never forget my horror when I saw how its wings were folded back and crumpled; the wretched butterfly tried with its whole trembling body to unfold them. Bending over it, I tried to help it with my breath, in vain.

It needed to be hatched out patiently and the unfolding of the wings should be a gradual process in the sun. Now it was too late. My breath had forced the butterfly to appear all crumpled, before its time. It struggled desperately and, a few seconds later, died in the palm of my hand.

That little body is, I do believe, the greatest weight I have on my conscience. For I realize today that it is a mortal sin to violate the great laws of nature. We should not hurry, we should not be impatient, but we should confidently obey the external rhythm.


1 thought on ““Home” and the impossible assessment of the present”

  1. Love and miss you! Keep writing about this unfolding venture! Here’s one of my favorite native american indian sayings about change: “Be wise like the snake, who sheds his skin, confident a more beautiful one lies underneath.”

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