Once again I love deeply everything at home, because I have to leave it. Tomorrow I will love other roofs, other cottages. I won’t leave my heart behind me, as they say in love letters. No, I am going to carry it with me over the mountains, because I need it, always. I am a nomad, not a farmer. I am an adorer of the unfaithful, the changing, the fantastic. I don’t care to secure my love to one bare place on this earth. I believe that what we love is only a symbol…
A damp mountain wind drifts across me, beyond the blue islands of heaven gaze down on other countries. Beneath these heavens I will be happy sometimes, and sometimes I will be homesick beneath them. The complete man that I am, the pure wanderer, mustn’t think about homesickness. But I know it, I am not complete, and I do not even strive to be complete. I want to taste my homesickness, as I taste my joy.
Herman Hesse wrote these words in his book “Wandering”. I don’t know if, like him, I am a “pure” wanderer; sometimes the possibility of such a thing frightens me, but then I remember I mustn’t get ahead of myself. I picked this book up only by chance whilst home. It belonged to my grandmother, but I’m not sure she ever read it, it was given to her by my aunt Trisha on a Christmas likely in the seventies. I was taking the first bath I’d taken in over sixth months when I began it, and some kind of strange relief–and then terror–washed over me as warmly as the foamy bath water I was lounging in.
I suppose the the terror is due to the knowledge that choices will have to be made. That, while this text spoke to me on a level most things and people cannot, it still did not provide me that sensation of comfort or “rightness” I always find myself in search of. I cannot have everything, I cannot do it all. If I choose to wander, I cannot have a home. Sometimes I dream of owning a home, a home filled with my shell collections and old books… but when I am home all I ever think about is leaving. I am in-love with love, and if I love someone I cannot love anyone else, but every time I’ve ever been in love I’ve felt trapped. I’ve always wondered if everyone felt like this, or if there was something wrong with me. I’ve expressed a dull concern that I’ll never settle down, never find someone I’m capable of loving for the rest of my life, a place to stay for more than just a few years. Yes, I’m young, I needn’t worry about this yet, but sometimes I do.
Hesse’s text frightened me because he expressed all the same desires and aches I have, and he ultimately chose to leave them all. He chose homesickness, longing, terrible days. I keep wondering if there is some sort of middle ground, some way I can both wander and still have a place to return to. Maybe if I were a millionaire. But I’m not. But I have a lot of work to do, so these are worries for other days…however, you can expect more excerpts from this beautiful little book.