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Drawn Home

Drawn Home

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Published in WestEast Magazine 25: Home, Fall/Winter 2008
Published in WestEast Magazine 25: Home, Fall/Winter 2008

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Published by: Miguel Paolo Celestial on Nov 12, 2008
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06/16/2009

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Drawn Home
By Miguel Paolo Celestial
Published in WestEast Magazine 25: Home A bed, a chair, and a window. Home is where we rest and where we dream evenwithout mattresses and pillows. It is where our thoughts dwell, where days aremeasured by shadows, movement by rooms, and resolve by pauses betweensupper. Home is where the night dwindles, shaking the thick smell of dusk that glistens in our vision. There is no frame for our gaze towards tomorrow; home iswherever hope is nailed to our heart’s rafters.
Home. There must be more to it than the yearning for a place or a moment thatcould seal us off from the hectic demands of life, where we can shut outproblems and curl into a long-sought sense of quiet. There must be more to itthan the appeal of bearable routine and the safety of predictability. What is itabout the concept of home that drives us on journeys just to find it? What makesit the sum of all our goals if not their reason?At first mention, we think of home as a tin full of tokens we have brought backfrom our travels. A collection of little things like randomly pocketed pebbles,together with furniture and art, novelties and design pieces. It is a wall where wepin maps of past voyages and plot succeeding conquests, a den stashed withmemories to be relived and shared.Home is waking up to smooth out rumpled sheets, clear our minds with coffee or tea, and listen to the first rustlings of the morning. Home is rising beside your loved one. In the evening, it is that glance around your neighborhood right beforeyou turn your back, bolt the gate, and retreat into private living.Home is the entire length of an afternoon; to it we surrender the loose ends of our days. It is every part of a house and its surroundings as well as any placethat our laughter and sighs inhabit. No matter how long and involving our adventures have been, there’s no place quite like it.
‘What a life! True life is elsewhere. We are not in the world…’ (from ‘Délires I,Une Saison en Enfer’ by Arthur Rimbaud)
From dreary offices, the rush of people, the drone of traffic; from repetition; fromthe feeling that we are lurching down a cliff of smoke: at one point or another,every city dweller is driven by the urge to escape.
 
To simply drive off speeding roads and turn away from the lure of lights. Scrapeoff the patina of endless boredom. Quit staring into unnerving emptiness thickamid the commotion. Chuck deadlines and just pack up and leave. Without anyitinerary, not knowing what we want to escape to, just what to escape from.Many times we feel this restlessness, this conviction that we do not belong, andnot just in the city. We feel that we’ve outgrown our surroundings or that we havenever really been part of them, much less welcomed by them. We wander,seeking to move on, not knowing where to.For the metropolis, this sense of oppression has been inflicted by the city’s owncitizens. The efficiency that we have made a rule for urban progress, that hasmade things easier and faster, ironically, has brought to the way we work, travel,communicate, and live a certain paralysis. We strain to fit everything in limitedschedules. But even as we manage to, we inevitably neglect our intangible andunquantifiable need for belonging, for refuge. Alas, we have created our ownunlivable conditions.
Welcome to Tranquility Spa! We promote wellbeing in our sanctuary of thesenses. We offer therapies for wellness, pampering, and spiritual bliss. Learn theoriental way of healing. We invite you to relax, rebalance, and rejuvenate in our  peaceful haven.
For those that cannot give in to their urge to just abandon everything, escapehatches like relaxation centers are a welcome development. We seek reprieve inwell-designed rooms, turn to concoctions and alchemies to rediscover our sensations. But how much less are we able to tune in to ourselves to find out our real problems when for every chance we get, we numb what we feel?Today’s mass of information has fine-tuned our perceptions, but strained our understanding. We get entangled in nets of pursuits chasing after what is new,what is the next goal, but there is nothing between the threads. With nopermanence, we still feel displaced.Dislocation, on a wider scale, covers the complications brought about byglobalization and politics. Citizens of the world, cosmopolitans and businessmen,possess a certain statelessness on the same level as exiles and refugees. Theyare equally rootless. How do they, together with already-burdened city burghers,cope with the everyday?
‘Out of my thoughts! You are part of my existence, part of myself. You have beenin every line I have ever read, since I first came here, the rough common boy whose poor heart you wounded even then. You have been in every prospect I 
 
have ever seen since—on the river, on the sails of the ships, on the marshes, inthe clouds, in the light, in the darkness, in the wind, in the woods, in the sea, inthe streets. You have been the embodiment of every graceful fancy that my mind has ever become acquainted with…’ (‘Great Expectations’ by Charles Dickens)
When things are so much a part of you, that you actually
live
in them as in aplace, belong to them the same way that they are indispensable to you, youknow you are not homeless. When a language belongs to you that when youoverhear it in a foreign country amid the busy buzzing, you know you are notalone, no matter how far from your country of origin, you know you have ahistory.For those who have multiple homes in different countries, those who alwaystravel and interact with various cultures and nationalities, and are not based longat any given area; or for those prevented to return to the land where they wereborn, the idea of home is carried with them wherever they go. It is written like asong that they will never forget and are reminded of in the most unexpected of instances.For other citizens, finding home is a matter of unwrapping habit.Plug-out. Turn off your iPod, tune off and disconnect so you can listen to thesubtle sounds around you. Stay retail free, even for a day. Stop and simply keepquiet, and maybe you’ll notice being alive to yourself.Listen to doors creaking and dogs barking, even smell the city’s stale river. Beginwith the senseless before you get to notice familiar birdsong or the imperceptibleapproach of cicadas, their sound replacing the fading chatter of homeward-boundchildren.You notice old houses with great wooden doors and magnificent iron gates, or simple gravel walkways that recall generations of footsteps, and you arereminded of your own family, its ancestral home a house full of stories. You pickup relics in your memory, lean back against flood-marked clay walls. You sortthrough idle talk your recollection of rides down bike lanes and the procession of fiestas and parades. Memory serves you with the smell of wood, familiar people,and your neighborhood market.You delight in the arrival of each one. You welcome yourself.
‘In Australia, the sky is so big, so blue. My heart is open.’ (from ‘Japanese Story’)

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