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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Home

Where is your home?  What is your home.  Would you describe it as a house, a place, like your "home town?"  Is home a feeling? Does a particular smell make you think (feel) "home?" 


I've lived in three places; My parent's house, college, and where I am now.  My parent's house held me for twenty-two years though four of those were shared with college. I've lived where I am now, in my husband's house, for over thirty-two years. A visit with my mom is going "home." 





This dove has built its nest on the ledge of a downtown office.  It raised two broods each summer




When coming back from vacation, I come back "home." So which is "home?"
Home is as much landscape as it is structure.  My home includes mountains and trees.




This home on the the Inland Waterway has a history of floods and storms








We speak of a church building as God's home

Do animals share the concept of home? Surely the den of a fox, bear or raccoon is home for a little while.  That is where each animal goes to be comfortable, protected, with whatever family it has at the time. 


Above is the winter home of a caterpiller that become a large moth

Is it only home if we have made it ourself? Not actually built it with our own hands, but formed it through planning, decorating, deciding where the furniture goes.  Perhaps it isn't home until we choose to go there when we are someplace else.  I've been to my mother's house and felt ready to go "home" meaning back to the place I live now with my husband. 


Right now I'm listening to a song that begs, " . . .father tell them to come home, keep the home fires burning." In this song, "home" is a place where we feel welcome, a place where we can rest.  Home is where we know who we are or remember who we were. 

My eighty-seven year old mother goes home to Virginia.  A special joy comes over her when she visits with someone who remembers "home."

Birds search for a home to last long enough to raise a family a protective place.

  Avian homes are defined according to the species of bird.  A robin builds its nest in a tree, phoebes prefer the eaves of human houses.  You can probably guess that barn swallows choose to build their nests in barns.  What did they do before there were people around?  Evidently they used holes in rocks.  I read that there is only one known flock of barn swallows not living in a human structure.  They quickly learned to associate humans with safe structures to make home.

An Audubon's Shearwaterhas built its nest along a path on a small rocky island separating the Carribean from the Atlantic. The giant head of her fluffy white nestling  appears at her back on right


Bluebirds have lost many of their "natural" home sites.  They like trees with holes excavated by woodpeckers.  The hole needs to be near a grassy expanse like a field or yard where they can catch bugs.  People don't leave old trees standing much any more so we have had to build homes for bluebirds if we want them around.  This has led blue birds to adapt to human builts homes.  Bluebirds respond to poles spaced evenly across a field.  They've learned that fence posts often have bluebird houses attached.  Many birds actually search out human activity to look for that perfect homes.

The pair of parrots below has chosen the cavity of a dead tree


I've learned that a coyote may dig two dens about three feet underground.  The second den is in case the first one becomes unsafe, the mother can quickly move her young out of danger.



A turtle is born with its home, carrying it with it forever.  It usually dies in its home.  That sounds nice.  A turtle is not held back by its home; doesn't worry about traveling away from home.  A turtle never asks, "did I turn off the stove? Will the pipes freeze?"  A turtle doesn't worry if its home is clean enough for visitors.  When a turtle meets another turtle, I imagine that they seldom discuss furniture.  A turtle is interested if another's home is concave or flat on the bottom, though.  (A male's shell is concave on the bottom. Can you figure out why? It makes for  for more convenient "dating") 



Human homes vary as much as do animals.  Some people live above the water in houses built on stilts.  Some spend their lives sleeping in hammocks strung between trees. Some live in caves while others live on boats, in campers or tents.

People built stone houses or wooden ones for their homes.  Some live like purple martins in apartments, sharing walls with other humans.


Still others, like the turtle sleep wherever they end up, without walls, carrying all their belongings with them.  Do they think of any place as "home?"

Home is protection.  Home is where we go to eat, to be with those who care for us, those we care for.  Home may be where we were nurtured, or where we nurture others.  The best homes have unconditional love, safety.  Houses are built quickly,  We can move into a house in a day, but a home takes years to make.  We live in a house but are part of a home.

 Home is a feeling, a gift we both get and give made by hand and heart.

All photos taken by the author of Beyond My Garden exept the photo of Algoma which was taken by Ray Dodson

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