Just a stray thought: I tend to think of home as a place away from work, away from stress, where everything is as it always has been, and I don’t really have to exert myself.

But that’s only because I’m extremely lucky, and I guess because familiarity breeds, if not contempt, then at least a kind of blindness. I barely notice when old furniture makes way for new, or when the shrubs in the garden are pruned, because all this is being done for and around me by my parents.

Home is far from a place that doesn’t demand effort. To make a place home requires, in fact, constant effort, constant exertion, to shore up the barricades of security and warmth and familiarity against the tides of entropy and the outside world. To be a home-maker is to be Canute standing on the shore and commanding the sea not to roll in, and being certain that, by the sweat of your brow, it will not. Not on your watch. Not today.

If we truly want to feel at home someplace, we should measure our belonging not by how little effort it’s taken us to accomplish something there, but rather how much we are willing to build it up.


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