You can’t go back home to your family, back home to your childhood … back home to a young man’s dreams of glory and of fame … back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time – back home to the escapes of Time and Memory. – Thomas Wolfe
This week’s Full Moon/Lunar Eclipse is in Sagittarius, the sign of the traveler, the wandering stranger, and appropriately enough I’m writing this from a motel room far from my home. Or rather, far from my present home; the place where I’m staying is, in fact, just a few miles from the hospital where I was born.
I think of this place a lot, but I haven’t visited here since 1988. So it’s one of those places, you know? – it feels familiar, except it doesn’t. It’s gotten to the point where I feel more nostalgic visiting Los Angeles, the place we moved to, than I do here in the place that we left. The feeling of visiting here has been less sentimental than odd – like being transplanted into, say, the setting of your favorite fictional television series. You recognize some landmark or other and you stop and exclaim, “Oh, it’s that place!” But it seems out of context somehow. You remembered it a bit differently, that this was farther from something else or the scale of it was different or … well, you get the idea.
I’m a stranger here, now. Our rental car has license plates from a different state, far enough away to elicit curious stares. I left here before I knew how to drive, and I have to use a GPS to find my way around. I meet cousins, people I spent a lot of time with as a kid, and I have to be introduced to them.
It’s been the same story, more or less, since we left home more than a week ago. We spent nearly a week in New Orleans, a city that seems vaguely familiar, even if you’ve never been there, because you’ve seen it in countless movies and television shows. And yet you get there and it has a slightly different shape than you’d expected. Some things are brighter, and some are much darker. The food, the people, the colors… it’s all as wonderful as you’d hoped, but not at all as you’d imagined it. It’s like walking into your house to find that someone has come in and moved all the furniture around by about three inches; everything’s a little bit off. (more…)