The Importance of a Solid Foundation
Place is intricately tied to my idea of home and recently, in more ways than one, I have become homeless. I have moved to a place where I have no roots, no tie to the hard ground or harsh climate. The horizon is a single nearly flat line that puts me out in the open and vulnerable. I miss the mountains of the province that has been my home for ten years and the mountains of the province in which I was born. I miss the familiar, I miss my people and my creatures. I long for the silty grey blue river where my heart and takes flight as a golden dragonfly.
This place for which I long smells like home, even the trees and the weather became a part of me. I could exist alone for hours along the rocky banks of any number of rivers talking to the ravens and feeling the eyes of the coyote on my back. The land is alive in the place I called home and I am lonely without the scent of a mixed forest, the call of a barred owl in the evening stillness, the silent swooping shadows of the bats under the barn light. I wanted to stay there forever in the cradle of the mountain valley searching its many slopes and canyons for magic and truth.
I had no way to afford to make a living and like so many small towns in BC the loss of a mill or a mine can destroy a town, turn it from something familiar to something unrecognizable. How is it you can walk the street of a town of 3000 and not recognize a single face? Tourism fills the town with money in the summer but the illness of winter makes the town frail. Locals can no longer afford their houses, can no longer find work to feed their families. Industry had dried up, corporations come and cut down the forest, re-route the rivers kill off the bears, and caribou, coyotes and spotted owls to satisfy the cravings of foreigners there long enough to consume, defecate, and leave behind a fistful of money. Soon there will be no one left to cook their food, turn down their beds, cut the grass on their golf courses, pump their gas, clean their condominiums. Where can you live when rent averages $900-$1500 /month before utilities when you only make $12/hr?
I fear that I will never be able to return to my home to stay, that I have to say goodbye to the places where learned about love, loss, life, and death. I can not afford to return to that place that healed my sorrows, filled my heart with happiness and my soul with a purpose because there is no work and I would become a tourist in my own home returning to those special places only to lament it is not what I remember.
The same rings true for my body right now. My soul is caught in a place between the familiar and the remembered. So many things feel the same but look different and there is an odd illusion when I look in the mirror and see a familiar face from my future looking back at me for just a moment. I see the man I have felt inside for so long and I can feel him filling out. I have moments where I don't recognize parts of myself and that is the strangest feeling. This body is becoming more strange as it morphs into something that resembles the invisible spirit that inhabits it. I am more uncomfortable with my breasts and thighs and buttocks each so vociferously feminine that even under the spandex and lycra of a binder I fear that strangers can see their muffled cries.
I may not ever be back in the place I used to call home but hopefully my body and my spirit can find a place that will feel like it. Someday soon I hope that my spirit is comfortable and relaxed in my body and my body is comforted once again by the sight and smell of mountains.