I have finally settled in to my new apartment in Austin. In the past year, I have cycled through five different apartments that I called home, albeit some quite briefly. I came across this line in a poem called “Air and Fire” by Wendell Berry, and it made me reconsider how I define the word: although I call each new place my home, home really is just inside me and I carry it with me everywhere I go.
Here’s the poem in its entirety:
Air and Fire
Wendell Berry, 1970
From my wife and household and fields
that I have so carefully come to in my time
I enter the craziness of travel,
the reckless elements of air and fire.
Having risen up from my native land,
I find myself smiled at by beautiful women,
making me long for a whole life
to devote to each one, making love to her
in some house, in some way of sleeping
and waking I would make only for her.
And all over the country I find myself
falling in love with houses, woods, and farms
that I will never set foot in.
My eyes go wandering through America,
two wayfaring brothers, resting in silence
against the forbidden gates. O what if
an angel came to me, and said,
“Go free of what you have done. Take
what you want.” The atoms of blood
and brain and bone strain apart
at the thought. What I am is the way home.
Like rest after a sleepless night,
my old love comes on me in midair.