Monday, August 18, 2008

on the turning away

Many odd thoughts crawl through one's head when one is hanging from a noose.

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Or, well, if said one is me...I would imagine the normal soul would not be thinking much of anything, but I just had a bit of difficulty getting a good amount of oxygen for a while.

It gave more than enough time for reflection, however, on home, and what home means, and how much of our lives center around the search for home, the loss of home, home's return.

Home is where the heart is.

Home, home on the range.

Home is where, when you go there, they have to take you in.

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My bout of hanging over, I started wandering the empty, littered halls of the abandoned hospital. Wreckage of a downed plane burned outside; and the eternal drone of a young woman's voice reassuring the dearth of survivors to remain calm was...not exactly comforting. It brought me again to thoughts of home, to how we make homes, how we live in them.

Home. It's a good word. A comforting word. Even folks who have bad home associations still fall into the social yearning for the good home. This is why haunted houses are so disorienting...Stephen King may have put it best during a speech from Rose Red:
"Houses are alive. This is something we know. News from our nerve endings. If we're quiet...if we listen...we can hear houses breathe. Sometimes in the depth of night, we hear them groan. It's as if they're having bad dreams.

"A good house cradles and comforts. A bad one fills us with instinctive unease. Bad houses hate our warmth, our humanness. That blind hate of our humanity is what we mean by the word 'haunted'."

In this sense, houses, homes, are more than just their prims and textures, more than the labor to build them, the effort to furnish and detail. Homes are our social face, in a sense. The face we choose to show to the world, even if we, ourselves, cannot be seen.

In this sense, home, then, is the truest indication of who, and what, we are.

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My footfalls sounded, hushed and wary, down the stairwell as I descended from light to dark. The lights here were dimmer, greener, and the overpowering stench hit me before the reality became clear--the basement had become an improvised morgue. Here were the survivors.

I stepped in for a closer look and realized what I'd taken for patches of shadow were the shambling horrors the survivors had become. I was surrounded before I could think to react, sustaining three bites as I fought my way free.

It wasn't my idea of home. But maybe to a zombie...
"A house is a place of shelter. It's the body we put on over our bodies. As our bodies grow old, so do our houses. As our bodies may sicken, so do our houses sicken.

"And what of madness? If mad people live within, doesn't this creep into the rooms...and walls and corridors? The very boards? Don't we sometimes sense that madness reaching out to us? Isn't that a large part of what we mean when we say...a place is unquiet, festered up with spirits?

"We say 'haunted'...but we mean the house has gone insane.

All of this came about because I was invited to attend a combined rez day party for both the Davies sisters, Tanarian and Myfanwy, and also (one of) my erstwhile employers, and Vice-Consul to the Europan Consulate, Frau Annechen Lowey. It was held at Miss Tanarian's dance pavilion in Steelhead Harborside. And I will admit freely, I had more than a few qualms about attending.

Oh, I've been unbanned for weeks, now, if not months, there's nothing but my own ethics that keeps me from the set of sims that Steelhead is blossoming into. Even so, I felt as if I was invading, as if my very presence would be seen as intrusive. Injurious. Damaging.

At the height of the party--for which I have no pictures, alas, because I was concentrating so very hard on not being a nuisance in any way--we had several dogs underfoot, getting into everything, from Irish wolfhounds nearly larger than I was, to small little Corgis with pink collars. And it struck me that here was life, bright vibrant life, and it was a wonderful sight to behold, and be near for those few hours I spent...but that it would not be part of my life, anymore.

One would think being gone from a sim for over a year, and being banned from that sim for nearly half that time, would more than have convinced me, but...I'm a slow learner.

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Tonight Brigadoon appeared again, and it just brought more contemplation on home, on what home means, on what our search for home means. Caledon Brigadoon, like any of the Caledon sims, is a mix of mostly residential with some commercial concerns, but it has one distinct difference: it has the ancient village of Brigadoon, which appears every twenty-eight days, for a rough period of three hours, and then vanishes into the mists again, to wait out its time in the between spaces.

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Tonight it appeared during Brigadoon's brightly sunny day, which made the perpetual tully fog and eventual fading in sections even more odd, because they were magical feats accompanied by bright sun and blue skies. It was still, as with the first time I was there, a glorious thing to see. And the series of thatched-roofed, lath-chinked cottages contributed to that feeling of...Home, safe and sound, home, comforts of, home, where we long to be...

Heraclitus said, Nothing endures but change. I've always found that to be true. Thomas Wolfe titled a book on the subject--"You Can't Go Home Again". I believe that's true, too. You can never go home again, not to what it was, because home's changed, and you have also. That has to be accepted, and that's just part of the life lived.

But sometimes...if you're very, very lucky...you can visit on occasion. Just to reassure yourself that home is still there.

It's something.

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