When I graduated from High School my father slipped me a thin, aged-looking book and said "read this... I think you'll like it". Naturally and naively, I threw it in amongst the rest of my books and didn't look back or even pause to consider cracking it open.
Years later, in the midst of moving into my first college apartment, I found the book and began to read it- and I haven't parted with it since.
"The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran has become a little piece of my heart and soul. Looking at it now it is ripped and torn from being tumbled around in too many oversized purses, and it's pages are dog-eared and coffee-stained- my best friend for so many afternoons spent in coffee shops learning how to be alone without being lonely.
My favorite thing to do is to give a copy to the people in my life. It's more than just a gesture of sharing something I love, it is also an invitation of sorts... a welcoming into a deeper part of knowing me and what sparks me at my core.
Looking at it now, I see how it holds a million lives in it's pages. Memories of a summer evening in a lake house in Illinois, cuddled up in a bed with old friends and reading aloud the words that I loved so much. Thinking of that night reminds me of the days spent leaping in and out of the lake, no makeup, sun-kissed and free. Evenings spent around a fire with a little music and a lot of laughter.
I gave a copy once to a boy I liked and told him to put it away somewhere and forget about it... let himself find it by mistake one day far from then. To let the serendipity of it fully breathe.
I've given copies to people who are still very much a part of my life, and to many who are very much gone from my life. And I think there is something special in knowing that people and places that are no longer with me, are linked to me still.
Home is a human condition. Its the vastness of your entire experience wrapped up in a sack, tied to a stick, thrown over your shoulder. Lately my greatest sense of "home" has been the contrast of all the different places I've been and people I've known. It's sitting at a table with a dozen of my closest friends, knowing that a mere year ago I was far from being as happy as I am now. Its seeing that no matter how far- both physically and emotionally- I journey, somehow life always brings me back to where I am meant to be.
It makes me think a lot about roots, and planting, and what that truly means. In New York, I couldn't even bring myself to replace my air mattress with a real bed... because somewhere inside myself I must have known that I wouldn't stay long. But I planted there, in ways more profound than furniture. I rooted to people, because the people were all I had. And when the time came to leave I was sent away with all of the love and encouragement of those people, knowing that I would carry them with me forever... they were rooted deeply in me.
I wander from home to home, finding new forms of family wherever I go. I wander not aimlessly, but with the challenge of staying free and yet committed. Committed to the truth of what I've come from, and free to reach the fullness that is yet to be realized in my experience.
"How does the Meadow flower its bloom unfold? Because the lovely little flower is free down to its root, and in that freedom bold." = William Wordsworth