Coming Home

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  • Kathleen Ellis

    This lovely, heart stopping poem captures the fear I’ve always felt as dusk drops into dark and I’m left only with shadows. Especially in winter, when lights and candles become crucial to banishing the unknown. But as we come to know the longer we’re alive, it’s in the shadows that we come face to face with our fears, to begin to know ourselves in all our complexity and those aspects we fight to keep hidden. Today I’ve been contemplating last night’s Gathering, particularly that I want to truly understand that there are no wrong turns in my life, that following those “thousand fragile and unprovable things” has meant packing and unpacking a ridiculous number of homes, has brought me grief and shame that seem impossible to bear, and joy and amazement at the immensity of what this world contains–and gratitude that brings me to tears. As long as we’re alive there’s always another doorway, another choice to be made.

    • Yota Schneider

      Kathleen, what a beautiful insight! I’ve read this poem many times now, and every time I read it, I hear something new.
      I have been reflecting on what “believing in a thousand fragile and unprovable things,” means to me and realizing that both my hopes and fears are really fragile and unprovable … until I take that next step.
      And, yes, as long as we are alive, there is another doorway to cross and another choice to be made, and hopefully, with each distance covered, we learn that there are no wrong turns, only turns, and appreciate the strength and courage it takes to continue believing in the thousand fragile and unprovable things that guide us onwards.
      Aren’t we all on our way home, anyway?

  • Linda Samuels

    It’s funny, but the word “Provincetown” caught my attention as I read the poem. I’ve been there many times and traveled Cape Cod’s main road, a dark two-lane Route 6 Highway. Memories of traveling at night on that road meant I was going somewhere…to an event, a place to eat, or a home we rented. Instead of an ominous, looming feeling, my mind took me to these happy memories (light AND dark ones) on the Cape. I hadn’t considered this last night when discussing the places I consider home, but Cape Cod (Wellfleet and Truro mostly) were other less visited homes. It was the place our family loved to vacation. So many memories, mostly happy ones, being at the beach with my loved ones.

    I know that’s not what the poem is about. But I am also not sure I agree with the words, “We see a world that cannot cherish us, but which we cherish.” Without a doubt, I am a cherisher of people, places, experiences, and things. There is so much to be outwardly grateful for and to love and appreciate. If I’m loose with the definition of “world” and bring that closer, a more immediate focus, I feel cherished. I feel loved and appreciated by those I’m close with, and I don’t take that for granted. Does the larger world cherish me? Probably not. It’s not even something I strive to happen. But within my little world, I openly give and receive. There is simultaneous cherishing going on.

    Wrong turns in life? I see them more as learning experiences. So, in this dark poem with glimpses of light, I find the sparkles more compelling to focus on.

    • Yota Schneider

      What beautiful memories, Linda!
      Supported and nourished by those memories, you have learned to draw the boundaries of goodness around you. You choose what makes up your world and give yourself to it fully, and with an open heart. That is a gift, a choice, and a daily practice.
      I find this poem hopeful and reassuring. After all, there is no light without darkness, and learning to navigate this world with eyes wide open, makes one strong and softens the heart. It opens us up to one another.

  • Sarah Lipscomb

    It jumped out to me that she says “making all the right turns” without mentioning making wrong ones. As if every turn I have made is “right” because in the end it has led me here. And I guess that’s true because having landed “here” does feel like home. Being where I am now, building a life in Albany, feels “right.” It feels safe and it feels like I’m actually living inside my life now, instead of watching it from above. I’ve landed in the place that I used to picture when I would think about building a home with my family. Not that I pictured living in an apartment in downtown Albany and working for the government.. but the feeling I have while simply existing here. I didn’t know if this new place would feel like home because I’d just come from a place that very much did not. As I settle in here, I realize how safe I feel and how grateful I am for having reached this destination. It feels like the place I can come when I’m weary. It feels like a place I want to share with my family. It feels like home.

    • Yota Schneider

      Hi Sarah,
      I love hearing you say that. What a beautiful feeling … having arrived at a place where you feel at home … inhabiting your life as you continue to create and build … alone and together with Tyler and Kamara.
      I remember when Neal and I first met … summer of 1984 … Cradle Beach Camp on Lake Eerie, Angola, NY. He took me to see Niagara Falls, and afterwards, we wanted to have dinner at a little Italian restaurant. Of cource, there were no cell phones or Waze back then. Neal kept driving around and around and getting lost. It was the funniest thing. Eventually, we found our way to the restaurant and got to have dinner. Neal kept saying … there are no wrong turns as long as we are together, there are no wrong turns. It has become our mantra, as we’ve traveled together for the last 38 years.
      There are no wrong turns, as you are discovering for yourself. Some turns may take us places that feel uncomfortable, but eventually, we find our way home and go through the doorway that belongs to us.

  • Kathleen Lauterbach

    This poem reminded me immediately of a game we used to play in college. We went to Oneonta, which is upstate in cow country. Many dimly lit roads, if lit at all. We would be out at night on an adventure in the car either coming or going and someone would yell “Lights Out”. You would then turn off the headlights and see how far you could drive before turning them on again. Stupidly dangerous game but it appealed to our sense of being invincible and willing to dare at that age.
    We thought of the darkness as a challenge!

    How different my reaction to the darkness now. I find I like to drive at night less and less. I am always scanning the road for deer that might jump out. I am constantly trying to make the bright lights even brighter to illuminate my way. I am acutely aware of safety and danger. The challenge to arrive home peacefully without an adventure!
    The belief though is still there, that I will always arrive to that home I love.

    • Yota Schneider

      Kathy, you wild woman, you!
      You made me laugh.
      How brave to think of the darkness as a challenge and learn, as years went by, to pay it the respect it deserves.
      Your many travels and adventures have only strengthened your love of home and the belief you will always arrive to the place you belong and love. And, here you are, still going on your adventures, knowing home will be there, lovingly waiting for you to return.

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