I think we are all intrinsically connected to the place of our birth, the place that was a part of our memories during our formative years.
I was born and raised in central New Brunswick. As a youth waiting to become an adult there, I couldn’t wait to get away and become a famous drummer. Once I finished high school, I moved to the nearest city, thirty-five miles (56 kilometres) away and established a life there. Within a few years of that I was busy touring and rarely saw the city, let alone the tiny village where I spent the first nineteen years of my life. There came a time when, after a few bad relationships and a yearning for adventure, I made a conscious decision to leave the area where I had been born and spent so much time as a child, adolescent, and young adult. There was a big wonderful world out there and I wanted to see it, and as a touring musician, I could live pretty much anywhere I chose to anyway!
I eventually settled in another province, in a region where the music was like water from a tap. One didn’t have to search for it; it was everywhere! It was this music that drew me to the place where I now live.
The following twenty seven years have been tumultuous, often painful and frequently very rewarding. Sometime in that period, I began to miss the streets of the tiny village and city where I used to live. I had experienced a number of incidents with which I think you are all familiar by now, and I think I needed the familiarity of home.
I was able to return to where I began life to visit more frequently as time passed and money became slightly more available. Each time I would visit, I would make a point of going to a few special places each time, and I’d be certain to visit a few choice friends and relatives. As well, I’d attempt to see at least one place and one person I hadn’t seen in a longer while. This put my mind at great ease and brought me remarkable peace.
When I returned to Fredericton a little more than a year ago, I thought I had completed the circle.
That was when I made a very important discovery. The place I loved most is a wonderful place, but the people I love most are in quite another place!
I had always known this I think, but it didn’t really register. At least until I began feeling very lonely.
I had known many people in Fredericton when I had lived there, but many months after I moved, I had only managed to reconnect with two or three people besides my family. The people who most frequently came to my mind were those I had come to know and love in Cape Breton: My partner of now twenty three years, my Reiki teacher and her daughter who is my acupuncturist, my Reiki students and fellow practitioners, my Taiji friends, the Cycling club, musicians, and many others. I was feeling as lost in Fredericton as I often do here in Cape Breton.
This is not to say that the people in New Brunswick aren’t terrific people; they are! But I know so few of them outside my ever shrinking family circle. Besides my Mom, sister, niece and nephew, and a handful of cousins and their spouses, it seems I know no one there anymore. And no matter how clean and lovely the streets are, they don’t hold much allure if they’re populated with strangers.
Last Friday, after one of my friends finished work, her sister-in-law and I met her for coffee near her workplace. As I sat there with these two charming, intelligent women, I felt I was in the right place. Two days later, on Sunday evening, my partner and I walked to her cousin’s house nearby. On our way home, I looked off across the horizon toward the bay and the lights beyond, once again feeling the familiarity I once felt in the village and city I sometimes miss. At times, I wonder why I ever left there and occasionally I feel regret. Yet the old axiom stands, home truly is where the heart is.
... and my heart has two homes!