Sunday, April 29, 2007

What is home?

It was interesting, yesterday, to drive down the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge and experience the deep sense of being at home, really at home there. So many memories of the Gorge: traveling on windy days when the whitecaps on the river were high and the car buffeted about by gusts; buying huge salmon from Indian fishermen, out of the backs of jalopies whose trunks were full of ice and fish; crossing the river from Rufus to Maryhill on a small barge-like ferry open to the elements; seeing the immense sturgeon in the ponds at Bonneville; sitting in my tiny home in Stevenson, looking at a flickering campfire across the river and high on the wooded slope above Cascade Locks; seeing the Indian fishermen on their scaffolding above Celilo Falls and remembering what it looked like before the dams went in.

I have been thinking about where I want to live someday. Wherever it is, I want to feel completely at home there. And yesterday I realized that the Gorge is a place where I feel at home. But much of that is connected to memory and the Gorge is not like it once was, though it is still beautiful.

Where else do I feel at home? What helps me feel at home? What is so loved that it creates that feeling in me? And would I be happy if I moved there, wherever "there" is?

"Home" represents a place of safety and peace. I have it here in my little Whidbey house. I have felt it elsewhere as well. I have always been able to make "a home", wherever I went, but "Home"? "Ultimate Home?" I may always wonder where that is.


Joel Monka said...

Ahh... you understand why, with all their flashy Gods to choose from, humble Hestia was the patroness of the Greek civilization, that no new outpost could be founded without fire from one of her chaples being carried there. (the origin of the carrying of the Olympic flame). Even the mighty Romans made their version, Vesta, the protector of Rome. There are few fancy stories about Hestia/Vesta. but then none are really needed- who would want to live without the favor of the Goddess of Hearth and Home?

ms. kitty said...

Joel, that's so interesting! Thanks for adding that information. One thing I realized as I thought more about it is that "home" has always been associated with where I was working at the time. To live somewhere completely by personal choice makes "home" have a different feeling. The best memories I have of the Gorge are from a time when I was living with my parents or in college.

PeaceBang said...

I'll never forget the first time I saw the Columbia River Gorge. I was driving in from the east (Minnesota, to be exact), and it took my breath away. I can't wait to be out in that neck o' the woods again.

ms. kitty said...

And our neck o' the woods is looking forward to having you for a guest!

LinguistFriend said...

I have to add that Greek hestia
and Latin vesta are probably not the same word, as Joel M's combination of them suggests, or at least there is justified disagreement about it. I spare you the details, but you can find them in the standard scholarly etymological dictionaries of Chantraine and Frisk for Greek, and of Ernout-Meillet and Walde-Hofmann for Latin.

Joel Monka said...

Linguistfriend, you're quite right that the two words do not share a root, and the similar sounds are more coincidental than intentional- but the two dieties they refer to did indeed have very similar roles and inportance in their societies, which is why I linked them the way I did. The point was how those societies valued the home above all else.