Sue says…. “It’s a feeling of consternation: where the hell am I! where’s the bathroom – what side of the bed am I on?” Thus ensues the frantic race to recall the last few minutes before falling asleep – what did we do tonight? Where did we eat? What does the room look like? – before panic sets in.
Mind you, this all occurs in what amounts to less than a minute of time.
I attribute this momentary confusion to the disappearance of “psychic roots,” – those invisible tendrils that reach into the ground and root us to Place. It’s through these roots that we exchange nourishment, and as we invest ourselves in a place the stronger they become, and the more rooted we feel. When we’re away from home they dissipate and weaken – much like a muscle which entropies when not in use. Nowadays, all it takes to feel my roots again is to get out into the garden and pull a few weeds, mow the lawn, and walk around the trees. At home I can plug in and submit myself to being receptive and porous – like roots.
After having been away for more than eight weeks it’s a shock reentering the atmosphere of home. I have to direct my attention downward and remember that I live here. This is what the birds sound like here. This is where the insects are raucous at night when it’s hot, and this is where we leave the windows open and the ceiling fans on at night long to cool the house by the morning. I’ll take it any day over an air-conditioned hotel room.
When the night is still and the moon lifts over the hill in back of the house, Place eventually creeps back in to my being. Here in Western North Carolina, in late August, the broad assortment of night scratchy, chirpy things are going with the full force that the summer heat tends to bring out. Mix with that the sound of cars on the distant overpass, and the occasional train of coal cars passing through the valley and you pretty much have the mountains of western North Carolina. It’s the birds, the bugs, the cars, trains and trucks.
I know where I am now.