Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Wisdom of Carole King

"Sometimes I wonder if I'm ever gonna make it home again" - Carole King, Home Again.

This song always moved me when I heard it sung by the Trinity Pipes a cappella group at my college as an undergraduate. It has a lot of wisdom in the longing to be home again, and "feelin' right". This came up in my own thinking today as some errands took our family back to Connecticut, where we lived the past five years until moving to Manhattan. There was a sense of homecoming for Herself and myself in moving to the city, because it is where we courted. Indeed, on a walk in the Ramble in Central Park a couple of weeks ago, we pointed out to the children where we were engaged (by the pond near Bethesda fountain -- I almost fell in the water, but that's a topic for another day).

In any case, besides our oldest daughter who has shadowy memories of England, where she and her sister were born, home for our kids meant Connecticut. It was upsetting to them to be there but not in our old house, even as they enjoyed the company of friends.

Two thoughts come to mind: first, that an effect of wandering has left me less tied to a place than I might otherwise be. And I don't know if it is coincidental or not, but my own interests in faith, theology and bible study have increasingly included heaven as integral. Or rather, the new creation. Second, and not to be morose, but I wonder if where we wish to be buried after we die is a revealing means to consider where home really is in this life. That is, where we want our physical remains situated (at least, what city, if one has moved around as I have) might show where home really feels. It's not very catchy, but maybe home is where the funeral is?

But Carole King is right in singing about the people she longs to be with at home. One of the kids said today that she wanted to live in our old house in the future -- buy it back. (We still own it, another post's topic!) I felt the same way when my family home was sold -- the only one I'd known until age 17. But driving by there some years afterwards, it was no longer home, and the desire ebbed. Because the people who made it home were no longer there. So yes to particular places being special, but in a certain fundamental way, I would have to say we can't really go home again.


DZ said...

great post Cliff! love it.

Clifford Swartz said...

Dave -- The boy can pretty much recite "Cloudy with a chance of meatballs" nowadays, and it is the most frequently requested bedtime read for the past month or more!