Thinking about home…

Looking out my 4th-floor window… talking myself into another day. Before 8am I see a homeless couple on the sidewalk, bundled against the cold and headed east pushing a yellow grocery cart overloaded with belongings, a boy on a bicycle riding slowly next to them in the street. Are they parents and son who found a warm(er) spot to sleep last night, broke camp, and are going… where? What does their day hold? I see people on the move every day from my birds’ nest vantage point, in singles, couples, small “gangs,” and try to picture what daily life looks like for them, hour by hour. Life has changed and the rug has been yanked from under people in such a way that they can’t recover, putting whole families at the mercy of the elements, which is antithetical to what we think America is. The Bigs have highjacked the American dream and it only applies upwardly now, which conveniently happens to be in their direction, leaving the underlings without the necessities of life.

Lawrence America is a benevolent place to be homeless if it has to happen… if the benevolent part is factual. I know the City tries, and is filled with individual humans who go out of their way to help. Last winter got so rough our shelters were maxed out, and at least three of our street people died of exposure… but a fact to be dealt with is that not everyone will come inside… the years and/or their own psychic issues have taught them to trust no one, ever, and then all you can do is pay respect. But as a community, we try… there’s now a fenced camp of wooden and canvas shelters, and other areas of town are seeing additional outreach to those without a roof or table.

With the world breaking our hearts every day, the grace of a gentle environment can’t be over-appreciated. This unique spot in Free Kansas is a microcosm, so the hate and intolerance are present here too, but mitigated by the overall sense that we’re here to live in peace, get along, help when we can. Not every decision Kim and I have made in our lifetimes has been a stellar one, but the one to settle our bones in this place stands near the top, just under “Screw it, we know what this is! We’re getting married.”

Most university towns come with a predictable list of complications, but the energy of about 28,000 students translates its way into every part of life here and it’s overwhelmingly positive. Online question: Is KU a party school? Answer: Since the University of Kansas is a big party school, if you have difficulty focusing on studies you should choose another school. So yeah, big energy, but mostly benevolent, and KU basketball restarts our hearts every season.

Living here, likely dying here, makes so much sense. My grandma grew up in a dugout an hour away, her people having settled in Atchison via New York Harbor, via Germany. After a lifetime in western Kansas, moving to a place with trees and rivers has soothed my soul from day one… this is home.

The homing instincts of humans are much like those of other species, but we have a harder time knowing where that home IS, so we can’t just head south and keep going ’til we get there. For the human species, home is an elusive concept, colored by memory, shaped by circumstance. We have a hard time settling, but our hearts are always looking for a soft place to land, and when we find it, we know it. Nice to be able to say “I’m in a good place” on a cold December morning in an age of abject uncertainty. Amen.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. murphyvillefarms
    Dec 12, 2021 @ 15:33:25

    I felt the same way. pretty much in the same mode too!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. Barbara Downing
    Dec 10, 2021 @ 17:35:43

    That part about “Screw it, we’re getting married”, goes into the “steller” department, asI see it. 💞

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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