In the cathedrals of New York and Rome
There is a feeling that you should just go home
And spend a lifetime finding out just where that is
--"Cathedrals," Jump Little Children
Where do I put my welcome mat?
It used to be at my parents' front door. Then it sat in upstate New York under 10 feet of snow, next to a bar entrance in Pittsburgh, and now before a brick townhouse in NoVa.
Does this make home where my welcome mat is? It seems too easy to move, too transient, too ... flat. And it doesn't explain my comfort in church, or at the library, or in a good friend's house. I don't bring my welcome mat there. Yet I'm equally at ease.
There's always "home is where the heart is," I suppose. But that puts my home in a well-written book, or at the ocean, or with the relatives in Italy. And last time I checked, no one is sending my mail to my relatives in Italy (though let's not discount the mysteries of the Italian postal system.)
Home, then, must be bigger than a mat and wider than a heart. Tall order. This rules out bungalows, cottages, colonials, and McMansions. It does away with townships, boroughs, cities, and states. It even trumps countries, planets, and the whole schmeer of the universe.
In fact, forget coordinates altogether. Home is deeper than that. It's protection balanced by risk. It results from circumstance or decision, followed by adaptation. It's joy and contentment. It fits.
In a right world, home is with me and in me -- with or without the welcome mat.