Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Journey Home: Of Porch Lights and Quenchings

The gray cat is spooked and has taken refuge on a strange roof; she sits atop this house-that-is-not-mine and considers the activity across the street, marveling at my crossing the street and allowing all the noise, all the activity, exhibiting baffling congeniality instead of protecting and shooing the strangers away.

Yes, my patient reader, the light on my back porch has finally lit and beckons me to come back home. It has been a harrowing Odyssey, the last week being the most awfully hectic and demanding, the past month the most unreasonably unreal, when I spent most of my waking blinks at Lowes and Home Depot, cajoling, shouting, reasoning, insisting, bullying.

This stormy morning and afternoon witnessed the last installation by Lowes. Yet the house does not seem ready to receive inhabitants, what with all the construction debris, gargantuan cardboard boxes, the detritus of unidentifiable building and packing material, left-over tile boxes and concrete sacks. I don't know how to work the air conditioning, or which switch controls which lights; in fact, there ARE no lights yet, everyone relying on a portable lamp that is carried and plugged in wherever needed.

Actually, this week has tested my faith and patience almost to the breaking point. I have dropped my child off to her university, more than 300 miles away, and the enormity of this shift is just sinking in. There has been a great deal of drastic re-structuring at my work that might (gods forbid, but it might) require me to rebuild my navigational systems. And to top it off, the soon-to-be-hurricane, Isaac rages and fumes outside the window. It all does seem apocalyptic, especially now that the cats are skittish with the booms and flashes of the hysterical storm lashing away at their territory.

However, I have a thought that centers my shifting world, a feeling of being properly quenched that I hold on to as the storm swirls and changes the winds.

Friday was a scorcher of a day and I had spent the larger part of it running to different stores, carrying things to and fro, most of it at my house. It was already afternoon when I stood in my just-installed kitchen and realised that I hadn't eaten or drunk anything. I dismissed the empty fridge and drank water from my kitchen faucet, cupping my hands beneath the water stream, the way I used to as a school girl, when cups were an unnecessary hindering between a stream and a person bowed over it. This drinking has quenched a thirst I had not realised I'd been nursing.

The night outside is darker than usual, and the lightening illuminates empty streets and hunched over wet cars. I cannot even see my house across the street. But for once, I do not blink and squint with need to see it. The porch light is switched off, of course. But I know that the brass frame twinkles in welcome.

There is a tiny mandir, an alter on my kitchen wall, and it is bright and filled with hopes: my long abandoned home, my burned house is no longer uninhabited.

I hope to be properly quenched and whole when I finally cross the threshold I have been thirsting for. I hope to recognize it all as mine, as I hope to be recognized and owned by it.


  1. Let there be love, let there be trust, let there be home.

  2. And let the hands of our loved ones lead us there! Thank you, Dhaval!


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