Thursday, March 3, 2011

Metaphysics of Home

In a matter of two pages, in chapter 13, Patricia Grace was able to define everything that home encompasses for me. In a beautiful, metaphorical way, Grace defines what the building blocks of a good home and family are:
“And the quiet of the house is also the quiet of stalks and vines, that no longer jangle at any touch of wind, or bird, or person passing, but which have been laced and bound into new patterns and have been now give new stories to tell. Stories that lace and bind the earthly matters to matters not of earth” (87).
The materials of a house, namely the wood, stone, and other natural elements, physically make up a house. These elements were at one time apart of nature, but found by the: “…carver, the shaper, the maker” (87) were transformed from self sustaining life forms to sustaining and safeguarding human life.
In the extended quote above, there is a strong sense of spirituality and our natural connection with the world we live. The building blocks of our houses, the wood banisters and trim that I have in my house, are dead but have life breathed into them by “these new stories.” The stories, the experiences of my family have recreated the structure of the blocks themselves. The wood takes on a meaning of love, happiness, strife, respect, parenthood, and growth. The wood forms and brings to mind the experiences of that first bike ride, the family dinners, the fights, the card games and the growing pains. With each new story to tell, the strength of the wood, of the establishment of home, increases.
With that wood and feeling of home, as Grace describes, there is a “warmth.” Not to be cliche or cheesy, but a feeling of warmth can be associated with care and love. An environment created through the stories and through the goodness of hearts. Grace writes:
“It was the warmth that wood has, but it was also the warmth of people gathered. It was the warmth of past gatherings, and of people that had come and gone, and who gathered now in memory. It was the warmth of the embrace, because the house is a parent, and there is warmth in under the parental backbone, enclosement amongst the patterned ribs” (88).
A home truly is as Grace so beautifully describes. The people come and gone are represented by pictures, photo albums and home videos of uncles, aunts, grandpas and grandmas. The traditions of every home represented through heritage and, for America, immigration. Though lacking in tribal qualities and song, the home I have is still one filled with characteristics unique to my family alone. There are certain “rituals” that my family and I partake in. For example, during the Christmas season, we always go out together and cut down a tree. It is the little things that define and make up a family and a home. The words, stories, memories and daily events construct the home as the wood constructs the house. A house is not a home until the “warmth” and parental backbone are established. Grace is able to put into words what normally is simply the feeling I have when I return home after school.

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