Sunday, September 15, 2013

Mum's the word

© harrington
© harrington
Welcome. The good news is we got a little much-needed rain last night. It left us with a cool, cloudy Sunday afternoon. Since I'm in my nice warm home, I'm pretty comfortable. The pictures are before and after this Autumn's planting of mums. They add a nice touch of color, don't you think? The weather, the season, planting mums, and another project I'm working on, all have me thinking about the meaning of home. Robert Frost, in his poem The Death of the Hired Man, offers at least three insights to the meaning. According to Warren, the farmer,
“Home is the place where, when you have to go there,
They have to take you in.”
Warren's wife, Mary, has a more charitable view,
“I should have called it
Something you somehow haven’t to deserve.”
Silas, the Hired Man, gets the last word by having come "home" to die, as he does in the poem. Home, for each of us, is clearly some place where we have connections. They may be associated with the ashes of Spot or Lady buried in the back yard. They may be tied in to the kitchen plaster wall marked with pencil lines and heights, measuring children's growth. When we used to have births, and deaths, at home, connections and memories may have been deeper. Do local hospitals and funeral parlors create a connection to the local community? Does home require a string of memories of special times such as Christmas, with its tree or Thanksgiving with its family gatherings? Is your home the place where you grew up (I vaguely remember from my fundamentals of sociology family of origin and family of procreation.)
or the place where your family lives now? Are they the same? As you may have read here, as much as I've come to love Minnesota, and raised a family here, I still consider New England, especially Massachusetts, "home." It's where my parents are buried; where I grew up; where I first kissed a girl; where I learned to drive and swim and experienced many other firsts. There are many places in New England with which I have a strong connection, at least in my memories. Where's home for you? What makes it so? Does it include a connection with one or more pieces of land? Linda Parsons Marion touches nicely on aspects of home we haven't yet mentioned. Don't you think?

Home Fire

                                           By Linda Parsons Marion

Whether on the boulevard or gravel backroad,
I do not easily raise my hand to those who toss
up theirs in anonymous hello, merely to say
“I’m passing this way.” Once out of shyness, now
reluctance to tip my hand, I admire the shrubbery
instead. I’ve learned where the lines are drawn
and keep the privet well trimmed. I left one house
with toys on the floor for another with quiet rugs
and a bed where the moon comes in. I’ve thrown
myself at men in black turtlenecks only to find
that home is best after all. Home where I sit
in the glider, knowing it needs oil, like my own
rusty joints. Where I coax blackberry to dogwood
and winter to harvest, where my table is clothed
in light. Home where I walk out on the thin page
of night, without waving or giving myself away,
and return with my words burning like fire in the grate.