Sunday, September 09, 2007

Where do you call home?

Where do you call home? When someone asks where is home for you, it can be a two-part question: Where do you currently reside, or where are you originally from in life.

Last night, while talking to a clerk at the local grocery store, it struck me that perhaps part of the difference in how we relate to “home” can be whether we were brought up in a rural or urban area.

The clerk mentioned the different places he has lived: California, Colorado, Georgia, Oregon. He commented which places “felt like home” and which ones didn’t, and how Oregon feels closer to being home for him — even though he is originally from somewhere else.

In his case, home is how he may feel at a particular point in time of his life, where he feels his family is accepted, and where he feels there is a lot to keep his family interested in residing there for a few years.

In my case, through the years whenever anyone asks me where is home, I explain I currently live in X city but I always add where I originally grew up. To me, home is attachment to the farm, the land, the community where my family is established. That is home, that is where my heart is, that is a part of me that always remains wherever I may physically move in life.

A lot of my friends who grew up on farms feel similar ties to farms and rural communities that was their original farm. Perhaps growing the crops and caring for several generations of livestock was what gave us roots in those areas.

Besides the land, there are also ties to the people in a rural community. Generations of families grow up knowing each other, working together in the community.

When I talked to my mother in the phone yesterday, she updated me on news of neighbors who have passed away, retired, or moved. They grow older, their health fails them, and they sometimes want to move to places closer to children and grandchildren. However, she pointed out how many of them still remain, even if they sold their land or lease out their fields.

My mother, who has always wanted to live in a city, admitted that she sometimes has second thoughts now about leaving the farm and rural community. “I have so many friends here,” she said. “I’d miss my friends.”

We talked about how in the cities, often people don’t know their neighbors. Or as soon as you know your neighbors, somebody moves out and someone else moves in, not always for the better. I lived once in a bad area of a city where my older brother and I kept a baseball bat by the door to protect ourselves in case anyone tried to kick in the door.

That apartment never felt like home. Nor did so many other places I have lived.

Deep inside, I know where my home always will remain.

The farm.

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