This post was originally called: Of Being Nomads and Calling A Suitcase a Home...and it occurred to me that the title could very well have been the title of a poem except that it has been years since I last wrote a poem. However, given that I am currently navigating so many transitions both within my interior and exterior worlds, it wouldn't be so odd after all that I start embracing poetry once again after so long. Poetry is how I first began to see the world through words - and I am coming full circle, as if coming back to a sanctuary. I have so many thoughts, words, memories, and visuals jostling around in my head, all like caged birds...and poetry seems to me the best way to package and present them.
But this post is not just about poetry: it is also about being nomads, becoming acquainted with the idea of nesting homes from suitcases and bare rooms and the way the air smells at dusk in different cities and countries. As we traversed across America last month and now in India, awaiting to find our new nest, I thought of the hotel rooms, friends' houses, and camp-sites that we briefly called home. And this is what I am learning about home, having mused about the subject a great deal in the past years: no matter how briefly or long you live in a place, it becomes home, whether it's for the night, months, years or decades.
As I write, memories from our travels flash through my mind, one visual layering upon another: eating tongue-roof-burning hot pizza at Patsy's on a warm, electric June afternoon in New York, watching 4th July fireworks momentarily bloom in a garden of a night sky somewhere in Virginia, peering down into the sky inside a pool gouged out of red mountains, the surreal cacti cities and broken hills of Joshua Tree National Park, and the massive azure Great Lakes in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, which I constantly mistook for the sea, so great was my yearning to see it (although the one time I did see the sea on a New Jersey coast, it was during a hurricane and what an ugly, white, wind-whipped beast it was!)
And then, in middle of this treadmill of travel, there was also this to savor: exploring a garden in a desert city in India. The garden was a self-contained green universe, as gardens are: jaundiced leaves littered the grass, over-ripe bittergourds turned orange, as if in protest at not being plucked to be cooked and consumed (and when their bellies were sliced open, they revealed sticky red seeds within, nature's toys), and tiny deep pink flower petals dreamily danced away from their parent trees, their scent fiercely staining the air- and then one morning, I found a small, immaculately constructed and perfectly preserved nest sitting beneath a tree. Had it fallen or been abandoned? There were no eggs and the owners were nowhere to be seen, save a feather lying nearby. A home in a garden; the garden a home...in my photographic quest to document the quotidian of my life, those little moments that plump our lives, it was a memory and a metaphor and a message. Or perhaps, neither of those things. Each possibility is as valid as the others.It will happen soon enough, the nest - and so, meanwhile, I continue to wander, sights and sounds and smells aligning themselves against one another, like brilliantly hued saris in a sari shop - and when it will be time to sit down and write and ponder, I can simply reach into those memories and unfurl those moments and weave them into words.