What Is Home?

What Is Home?

Writings about residential real estate and all things home, by Cynthia Cummins of Kindred SF Homes.

What is Home?

What is home – for you?

Asked this same question, E. E. Cummings defined home as his lover and called it "the stars on the tip of your tongue, the flowers sprouting from your mouth, the roots entwined in the gaps between your fingers, the ocean echoing inside your ribcage."

Tad Williams said, “Never make your home in a place. Make a home for yourself inside your own head. You'll find what you need to furnish it - memory, friends you can trust, love of learning, and other such things. That way it will go with you wherever you journey.”

Carl Jung’s “dream home” – as in, literally, a home that appeared to him in a dream – became a cornerstone of his ideas about the collective unconscious. In “Memories, Dreams and Reflections” he described it in detail:

“…there was a kind of salon furnished with fine old pieces in Rococo style.  On the walls hung a number of precious, old paintings. I wondered that this should be my house and thought, ‘Not bad.’  But then it occurred to me that I did not know what the lower floor looked like. Descending the stairs, I reached the ground floor. There everything was much older. I realized that this part of the house must date from about the fifteenth or sixteenth century. The furnishings were medieval, the floors were of red brick. Everywhere it was rather dark. I went from one room to another, thinking, “Now I really must explore the whole house.” I came upon a heavy door and opened it. Beyond it, I discovered a stone stairway that led down into a cellar. Descending again, I found myself in a beautifully vaulted room which looked exceedingly ancient. Examining the walls, I discovered layers of brick among the ordinary stone blocks, and chips of brick in the mortar. As soon as I saw this, I knew that the walls dated from Roman times.”

Cummings, Williams and Jung are all on the same wavelength here – understanding that our real homes have more to do with our psyche and body than with place. In my own experience of maturation, which involved leaving behind my childhood home as well as the home of my children’s childhoods, I came to realize that too much attachment to a physical manifestation of home is, at best, distracting and, at worst, self-limiting. As Thomas Wolfe famously wrote, “You can’t go home again.”

True, because time and space erodes all. But how do you make a home within yourself? What practices do you develop to keep body and soul together? Where do you find sanctuary within yourself?

As the new year unfolds, I’m contemplating these questions more than ever. And I’m working to come up with a “theme” for my home this year.

I’ll write more if and when I discover anything worth sharing. But, in the meantime, I’m interested to hear your thoughts on the subject of HOME? What is home for you? Please email [email protected] or add a comment here.

Photo credit: Robby McCullough

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