There’s No Place Like Home
If you happened to catch a segment about the John Denver hit “Country Roads” on CBS Sunday Morning the Sunday after Christmas, you may have heard the word “hiareth”. It caught my attention and I had to explore it a bit more. Hiareth is a Welsh concept that means a deep longing for something, especially one’s home. As used in the CBS segment, it reminded my of another term, “Spiritual geography'” that a good friend uses to describe the place or type of geography that makes one feel most at home, where one belongs. That sense of belonging or home happened for me when I moved to the mountains over 25 years ago. Of course, I will always call Erie, along the shores of Lake Erie, my home, but something different happened when my address changed to the Appalachians. A new sense of home emerged.
It seems we all yearn for that sense of home, whether it is a a specific place or a kind of topography or maybe a particular room in one’s home or neighborhood. I recall so vividly and sadly how my Mom, in the throws of Alzhiemers would beg my Dad and I to take her home, while all the while she was sitting in her favorite chair in her own living room. The medical folks explained that she was really asking for that comfort and peace we feel when we are truly at home. It surprises me that the mountains have truly become “home” for me. since the mountain landscape was not part of my earlier years.
So, how does that influence my painting? More and more, I find myself desiring to paint or draw the landscape around me. I tune into the changes of the seasons more. I watch my garden grow. I nurture birds and butterflies. Perhaps “home” has little to do with this place, but more the opportunity my current life affords me to see and experience the life around me, to be aware and to cherish simple things. Or perhaps I am at that coming-home age, midway through my seventh decade. It’s a good place to be. I have a working theory that I am drawn to paint that which brings me that sense of home. And I falso think that when a viewer finds a painting “speaking” to them, even enough to make it their own, it is because it reminds them of the “home” in their own hearts.
Yes, home is where the heart is and there is nothing like it.