(painting by Paul Signac [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)
I used to have a house, cute as can be. I looked at it from every angle, drew pictures of it with additions that would make it dreamy, perfect. Home. I had a neighbor who loved his yard in an intense, brooding way. One day I was out mowing the lawn with one of those push mowers. A shitty old one with dull blades and a handle that kept popping off. He walked up to me, "Robyn, what are you doing?" In these few words I understood. Why have you painted flowers on the front of your garage (because I did this) and planted a ridiculous Eucalyptus tree next to your spruce that we all wanted you to take out in the first place? What is up with the all the chimes and yard doodads? And what on earth are you doing with that ridiculous mower? It doesn't edge your lawn or cleanly bag your cut grass.
I loved roses so I planted a bunch of them. Turned out I hate roses. They poke you and scratch you and judge your lack of grace when pruning. I removed them (during wintertime) and gave them to my mother. I loved trees so I planted as many trees as our yard could handle. I quickly discovered why our house was barely damaged during our last big earthquake (back in 2001). Rock. We were built on ground that just wouldn't budge. Did that stop me? Nope. I drew pictures, went to the garden place, bought way too many plants.
I painted the interior. Every room. Annoying colors too because when you're in search of capturing a feeling, you should not go out paint shopping. I organized and planned and organized again.
And it was never enough. I couldn't find that feeling of home. I'm not sure why. When we search and compare the real word to dreams we've had since we were kids, can we ever find that thing? Can we remake our world into what we see in our heads?
I'll have a house again one day and I probably will paint flowers on the garage. I'd love another push mower, one of those fancy ones where the handles do not pop off. I'll plant tons of trees because man I love trees. I'll steer clear of roses because they suck. But I'll enjoy it. Maybe even give the walls a pat for rocking the planet because home is you in a place that makes you smile.