Where is home?

This is a repost from September 2014. I had forgotten about it until it showed up as a post that was recently viewed, which means maybe somebody googled Cuckoo in Coombs and accidentally found cuckoo in Cedarvale. I still wonder sometimes where home is, so I decided to repost.

I’m not always sure where I belong. The obvious answer is the farm in northern BC where Lone Wolf and I live. I’m happy here. I feel peaceful, comfortable, and nourished, body and soul. But when I visit Vancouver Island, where I was born, where I lived for 47 years, where my family lives, I feel a tug. A voice just behind my left ear clamours, “This is home.”

I hardly recognize the place. The landscape changes from one visit to the next. The cities and the island highway are noisy, crowded, hectic, hot. But just a few steps away it’s blue as big as the ocean, it’s verdant, it’s textured, it’s a tapestry. It’s home.

Or is it?

I go back and forth. And happily, I can go back and forth. Two or three times a year, I feed my spirit with things the north can’t offer no matter how much I love it: the company of my family, Les Misérables at Chemainus Theatre, fine Italian food at Cuckoo in Coombs, islands floating in the Georgia Strait, lush Victoria gardens, copper arbutus bark, a certain blue and white house on the corner of Southgate and Adelaide streets, fresh Italian plums plucked from a tree in a friend’s backyard. Not just any friend—the one who’s known me for 56 years, who remembers being wide-eyed kids with me, who stayed in our hometown and made a life there. A good life. A peaceful life. A life not so terribly different from mine in some ways. A life I could have chosen.

But I didn’t.

I don’t.

I choose this.


This is the place where I stand every day and give thanks: for my beautiful life, for my family, my friends, my dog, my garden, my work, my home.

My homes.

6 Responses to “Where is home?”

    • commatologist

      Sheila, your amazing poem “Whose Garden is Vancouver” captures so much of what I don’t miss about the Lower Mania.

  1. theresa

    I have that feeling for the Island too, Leslie. A sense of it being a first home (though not the only one) and a place I know because I am imprinted with its streets, its buildings (the library where I first checked out books), the breakwater at Ogden Point where I walked with a series of boyfriends and wondered why they didn’t feel enough somehow, the dry oak meadows where I rode my horse: so many specific locations and odours and memories. I wouldn’t trade my beloved home for it but I do have yearnings occasionally for the person I might have been if I’d lived there. And my daughter does live there so I can hear her stories, her enthusiasms, and feel as though I still have a foot, or at least a considerable amount of my own DNA, in its sea-stung landscapes.

    • commatologist

      Theresa, thank you for this: “I do have yearnings occasionally for the person I might have been if I’d lived there.” I want to think about that and maybe write a story about the person I might have become if I’d stayed in my hometown. (Which is the opposite of a game I like to play on road trips of imagining what kind of life I could come up with in the little town I’m driving through.) Also, “sea-stung landscapes” – a gorgeous phrase.

  2. judith Mackay

    I feel what you must feel, just from reading your words about it.
    Wherever we might be, I always feel at home when I’m with you.
    Thank you, dear friend.

    • commatologist

      And I always feel at home with you. I especially like when there’s a kitchen table between us, cluttered with books and notebooks and cups of tea. Much love.


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