Fire everywhere, it seems. Detroit, Northern California, Boulder...
I remember reading somewhere that the Celts believed that fire and water created the earth, and fire and water shall destroy it. I must say, I'm prone to believe it.
We are inching upon the first anniversary of losing our home to water-fed mold; and even now I watch forest-fed fire consume the home I knew in Colorado.
The timing of these traumas interests me now, especially as I have a year's worth of perspective and distance from it all; for mid-September has proven to be the harbinger of many major shifts in my life. We all know of September 11, 2001. Just about that time I was mourning the death of my grandparents, which had happened in quick succession. I was also beginning my graduate school internship as a counselor for Hospice. From that point on, it seemed my worldview-- which I had so carefully pieced together in my 20's and lovingly coddled within myself as the truth-- collapsed as the Towers did, into unforgiving ash and flame.
I do not know if it is just a gift of the 30's, this rude disintegration of "what we think we know". But these "interruptions" to my psyche would continue, all the way to the worst of it, which was leaving my training temple not 2 months after my ordination, my Zen Tokudo.
That place has since burned down, too.
I thought about it a bit: one home consumed by green and black "fuzz"; my spiritual home by fire, and still another-- the home where I first nursed my baby boy-- on the edge of the worst fire in the state's history.
I recall my quick visit to Knoxville, to see if I could find the home I lived in shortly after I was born. What I found was that it is no longer standing.
So at the risk of developing a "complex", I decided to Google another childhood home, the first address I ever learned and somehow, still remember: Falcon Courts North at McGuire Air Force Base. The first photo recalls how I pretty much remember it:
The second, as it is now.
Really, all this home-destruction is enough to give a girl a complex. So many places I have lived-- and I have lived in so very many places-- gone, gone, gone. I look back to the fire in Boulder with different eyes: is this destruction chasing me? Do I need to fret for the place I live in now? After all, So much could go wrong...
But for wont of feeling fire nipping at my heels, I wonder: what is home? Is it a physical place, where we are surrounded by our loved ones, and by things that we love? Or is it that longing for loved ones, and things that we love? Is that the home-leaving vow I took? Or does all this loss speak to something else?
When I was young, there was a rash of young people running away from home; at the time, I marveled at their bravery, because I wished I could do the same. But now as an adult, it seems the homes are running away from me.
What is this new koan?
From the archives: At the Death of the Year
9 hours ago