I am looking for the little things. For the things that tie me to this coastline, this "best coast" in the country. For the swingset on Garden Street that I have visited many a time late at night ("park closes at dusk", be damned!), for an trivia game on the Ave, for rain leaking from the sky, a hug from a niece or nephew, word games on the kitchen table.
What I am finding is that these little things do not add up. It is not the simple addition of these little pieces of home that make home, that make the Pacific Northwest so magnetic. One bagel from the Bagelry + champagne shared between friends while watching the fireworks go off the Space Needle + Yahtzee (or Farkle...) does not equal home. And furthermore, that equation is not greater than baguettes + cheap cheese + explanations of odd British slang + southern French sun, and it isn't even greater than gross "London nachos" + freestylin' in an apartment with a guitar beat borrowed from Eminem + all-day brunches - New Hampshire, for goodness sake!
Quite honestly, if I continue to look for the little things, I am liable to end up quartered, with parts of my body scattered all over the world (William Wallace, anyone?). Because those little things I find myself searching for--those things that fill up my days and my memories and make places important--those little things are not just in Bellingham, or Seattle, or Washington State. They are scattered across countries, across oceans, across continents. There is this amazing cafe in Collioure, France, where I had a hot chocolate in January, and the sky was blue and the wind was cold and our chocolat chaud cooled before we could drink it, and we sat chatting in broken French, and that is my home. There is an attic in New Hampshire where I danced for hours to hip hop music, where I have listened to poets tell me about theory, and that is my home. There is a specific booth in the Ranch Room on Holly Street that might as well have my name on it.
To some, this might feel a bit like homelessness. But it is, in fact, the antithetical problem. I suffer from too many homes. Home is where ever I've been, where ever I'm with you, in fact. In a way, I am afraid that this itself might cause a feeling akin to homelessness, a feeling that where ever I am, I will never be totally at home, because I have so many other homes in so many other places. I suppose, however, that is a kind of wanderlust, even if it is just to places I have been before, places where I have made homes. And wanderlust is something I am perfectly content to feel.