An Open Letter to My Son’s Friends at the Prom After-Party Weekend
May 14, 2018
21 Days of Yoga
May 17, 2016
Where the Light Enters You
February 6, 2019
June 21, 2017
Above, left: Living room,
Strawberry Canyon Place, The Woodlands, Texas
Below, center: The Prague Castle
Prague, Czech Republic
Where I live now; where I once lived.
“If we are always arriving and departing, it is also true that we are eternally anchored. One’s destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things.” -Henry Miller
Last Thursday morning, I woke in the middle of the night, as a jet-lagged insomniac does, and lay very still with my eyes very closed in a very dark room for a very long time and went through in my mind all the possible options of places I could be and I couldn't figure it out until I opened my eyes and suddenly realized I was at home IN MY VERY OWN BED.
Travel much? Bed-hop much? Good grief, in the last three weeks I've slept in more beds than I can count. That makes me sound like such a slut. Not that I sleep around. My husband is in San Francisco while his brother convalesces, while I sleep in all these beds for two without him. And my children shift around even more. We haven't all slept under the same roof since last month.
Sunday morning, the smell of coffee was so strong it cut through my on-again, off-again, jet-lagged sleep. Earlier that morning, it had happened again. I woke with no idea what room, whose house, which state I was in. Vagabond state, wandering state, fragmented state, curious state. Curious to try the frozen custard place I saw up the road*, curious how many people would show up to my yoga class on Tuesday.** Curious to know if I will ever settle down, or always be in a state of between-ness. Always coming or going, never lighting long in one country or home or bed.
My children, two of the three, were sleeping in a trundle bed across the hall while the third was still in another country, another time zone where I'd left him Wednesday night. He stayed to play another week and I left to come back here, two nights in my own house, then flew again to my father's home to hug his neck and deliver the youngers to summer camp. So here is where I woke this morning, early to the smell of his coffee and the hum of his voice on the porch below this guest room window.
I am a guest in my father's house and also I'm at home. This is the town where I grew up. His wife is not my mother - my mother will be 19 years gone this summer. But this woman is my home too. She cares for me and my camp-bound children. She knows how to make me laugh, make us glad we're here.
Everywhere I go I'm glad I'm here. We visited Prague, our home for three years, and it was glorious. People said to me, over and over, it was as if we'd never left. We fell back in our same circles, Summer Fayre at school, yoga in Camilla's garden, breakfast on Gill's terrace, wine on Luca and Chiara's. Walks in parks and along the river and through the cobblestoned streets, coffees in town squares and kavárnas. Secret confessions and oh the laughter and hardly a single tear.
But I did leave.
It tore me apart, but I had to, and the leaving left a scar upon my heart. Less scar, more like narrow chasm right down the middle of me. There is the Czech Bohemian Emily (bohemily, if you were wondering where the name of this website came from) and the Texas/ American Emily. Going back formed a swinging bridge between the two but the traverse is an unsteady exercise in balance, in careful placement--one foot in front of the other, looking forward and gazing back at the same time and holding both views in my open, outstretched palms. I do not grip the rails. I may teeter a bit but I know I've got all these beautiful people on the ground to catch me if my bridge gives way.
And I am not afraid to fall.
If you enjoy reading my musings on the topic of Home, pick up a copy of Minerva Rising Issue #13, "Home". My opening essay explores this theme even further, incorporating another recurring motif in my writing, the home as body and place.