Home Thoughts 

From the stray cat:

I live sheltered by many roofs, the span of the sky, the canopy of tall trees, the car’s underbelly, the crawl space under the hardware store.

From my elevated dais on the sleek, black hood of a Mercedes, I survey my realm, scratching occasionally at my subject fleas who clamor at my fur. Through slit eye I watch the people scurrying, nodding in respect as they pass by my throne.

Birds shout tedious acclaim from above. Lizards scrape their bellies across the ground in obeisance.  Many subservient dogs, leashed or harnessed, trot by yipping impotently. I turn my back in disdain.

Now and again a mutt of coarser breed prowls around. Idly, I make my progress to the roof of the sedan to preserve our distance. Neighborhood cats, the ones who fawn in peoples’ homes for food, know their place

Without doubt, it is I who rule this empire, and to prove it a hardware store footman presents me with a bowl of food, bowing low.

I’d scorn a pillow in a plush palace – this is where I call home.

A good home in unlikely circumstances

Several years ago my friend Gloria died. I was pleased to read in her obituary that she died peacefully “at her residence”. For most of us there’s nothing remarkable in that, but Gloria, who had a gargantuan grin, also had developmental delays and lived in a group “home”.  She shared an apartment with several friends and supervisors and she thought it was the best place in the world.  I don’t recall her ever using the word “residence” – to her it was a little piece of heaven.

Two Homes

My mind started to play with the notion of “home”  as we began to look forward to traveling to our small summer home in Colorado, (hence the “Aspens” in this blog’s title, “Salt Spray and Aspens”). On the face of it, it’s such a simple idea, it’s where you live, where the “heart is”.  A physical and an emotional location, sometimes found together, sometimes separate.

In the past six or seven months, Chris and I have fixed up the tired little house here in Florida and added personal touches that in a relatively short time have made it feel like home.  And we’ve written the prologue and perhaps the first chapter of our story here, the beloved yet very elderly pet who died, friends, family, cheerful contractors and neighbors who visited and interwove our physical home with the first strands of its emotional lath.

It strikes me that we are very fortunate.

Many people have no place to call “home” in the literal sense, or often in the emotional sense. They lack a roof over their heads and/or a sense of emotional safety.  In our county alone 600 children are “homeless”.  In our nation, 554,000 are homeless. 1And that’s just the start.

Concerned members of our faith community remind us that, according to the United Nations, in 2018 there were 258 million migrants in the world, fleeing, poverty, persecution and war. Looking ahead, their numbers will swell as they are joined by “climate” migrants whose circumstances are no longer tenable in a world with shifting weather.

I always knew I was fortunate to have two homes, now I realize it’s a huge privilege to have one.

 

1 According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Annual Homeless Assessment Report, as of 2017 there were around 554,000 homeless people in the United States on a given night.

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