“Birds in flight, claims the architect Vincenzo Volentieri, are not between places, they carry their places with them. We never wonder where they live: they are at home in the sky, in flight. Flight is their way of being in the world.”

From Geoff Dyer, quoted in Pico Iyer’s “Global Soul” (my emphasis and italics)

I love this quote because it speaks to the question, or perhaps the definition, of home. I share many attributes of Pico Iyer’s own sense of home: that transnational, in-between borders state of existence. For much of my adult life, I have lived in this area, yet was unable to define precisely what that area amounted to or encompassed.

Here’s another quote that tries to distill a new sense of home for us:

In conversation with a Punjab taxi driver who immigrated in Toronto, Iyer starts a fascinating dialogue about the immigrant’s sense of home.
When asked about how he felt about Toronto being his adopted city, a city whose praises he had been singing earlier, the cab driver’s voice turned soft.

“Where you spent your childhood, sir, you can never forget that place. I am here, sir, and I like it here. But,” and I could hear the ache–“I love my India.”

Yes, the ache is the root of a lot of restlessness and wanderlust, but it’s also the ache of homesickness. What I mean to say is that, for me, the distinction between wanderlust and homesickness is incredibly blurry; equally blurred are the lines between my sense of home and homelessness. Yet, amidst all of this, the ache remains.

As a Christian, my true sense of home is not “of this world.” This might sound metaphysical, and in fact it is. Although we have roots in a nation or a culture, our spiritual roots are much deeper, in light of eternity, and our “home” extends far beyond what we see and know this moment. When I became a Christian, I had, in many ways, “found my home.” However, when I try to analyze my life using a different vocabulary, (i.e., not a Christian vocabulary), the ache returns.

That simple line, accompanied by the ache of a man in an adopted city, speaks volumes for me. That terroir of our childhood and upbringing truly does affect the fruits of our lives. Those memories are far more than mere memories; the remnants of our childhood that exist in our minds as sights, sounds, and smells, continue to live in our lives. SO as we age, that terroir remains, shaping our being, our existence, our relationships, and our children (our fruit).

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