Day of Departure

“Set a new direction for the harvest ahead.”

It is done! We are finally on the way.  After months of preparations, research, and far too much waiting we are finally off on our great adventure.  This morning we loaded up a shipping container with all of our worldly detritus and waved it off down the road.  The next time we will see it will (hopefully) be in front of my family’s house in Australia.  So now we roll down Interstate-81 in our one remaining vehicle with everything that we have left in the world.  The sun beats down on the windows of the car, heating my skin and reminding me that summer is here.  Cool winds soothe the stress of the past 48 hours and Bernard Fanning, whispering through the stereo, reminds me not to be afraid of change, but embrace it and move forward, always forward.

“Such is the passage of time, suddenly swallowed by signs, lo and behold!”

Eddie Vedder is talking to me. No really, he is.  I’ve always known that his music is for me alone, well me, my buddy Dave and a few million others I suppose.  It’s funny how the shedding of material possessions raises my comfort level.  It’s as though with each box loaded into the container the weight on my chest lessened somewhat.  Many people disagree with this philosophy and instead feel security amongst their toys, clothes and other accumulated crap. To each his own.  Speaking for myself, I cannot understand how anyone would feel anything but stress and anxiousness with all that stuff. It really can take over you know? It determines how you spend your weekends, “Hell Lurlene, we gotta go to the lake and get some use out of this here bass boat,” deciding when and where you go on holiday, “Cleetus, we have to take the kids to Disneyland in August, how else will they get any use out of those summer outfits, video games and that stupid timeshare you got drunk and bought into”, even dictate a name for your first born child “Jolene, let’s call her Seimans after the flatscreen,” and so on.

“B-Boys are makin with the freak, freak!”

Before you get all, “Marcus is such a dickhead!” and start to thinking that I never, never ever, place any importance in our homes and what we put in them, let us please address the ultimate subject of today’s post; what makes a home, a home?  All that packing and wrapping did ultimately serve a purpose (in addition to the obvious need to ship it unbroken halfway around the world).  Ultimately I think it is this stuff that makes our abode actually… ours?  It was difficult to summon sadness as I walked around the empty rooms and bare walls. It was no longer ours, just the farm house on Birch Ridge Road. Our stuff, it turns out, is a representation of memories. A roadmap to who we are, or at least that’s what it is in our household.  I can’t hold this hypothesis up to my friend Richard from Florida.  Richard is a life insurance salesman and takes particular delight out of buying fully furnished , ex-display homes when looking for property after his latest divorce. “Fuck having to hang shit on the walls,” is all Richard would have to say about my theory. In his mind home means nothing more than a place to sleep in between business meetings, but this itself is a difficult prospect as Richard’s beds were never meant to be slept in (as in all display homes) and are as hard a rocks.

“Hakuna matata, bitches”

In the “Lion King” Pumbaa tells Simba “Home is where your rump rests” after he ran away into exile following the death of his father. In the face of losing everything that he held dear, Simba began to gather new memories, new things to call familiar and in doing so found a new home. Homes must have memories. They don’t have to be old ones, and they don’t necessarily have to begin with them, but they must start to gather from the very moment you step foot in the door. Or in Simba’s case the moment that you eat your first puss-filled insect.

“It’s all so momentous, yet perfectly normal, scary but not to be feared.

Loudan Wainwright III has the proverbial finger on the pulse at this very moment concerning the Forster family.  Beginning a family changes a home, it’s unavoidable!  Which is not to say that you can’t have a perfectly suitable life without children, but after you do everything is just… different.  Our daughter was born at the farmhouse, which makes leaving it a little different from our previous hovels.  She grew into a little girl there, learned to walk and ate her first booger on the couch in our living room.  The memories of her evolution are inextricably intertwined into the framework of that little cottage and that makes it difficult.  I continue to be surprised at the ways this little girl has changed her Daddy, so despite the sadness at leaving her first home, I look forward to learning about the ways she is going to change the way I view the world while travelling.  Will this little red headed girl turn her paterfamilias from a pessimistic curmudgeon to a “glass is half full lover of the human condition?”  Not bloody likely!  She has plenty of growing up still to do, and another house will witness the first eyebrow piercing, the first return home from a party drunk, the first teenage drama… so we have to that look forward to, which is nice.  Wherever we are, whatever country we are in, home, for me, requires just two things… my wife and my daughter.  With them beside me I could bed down in a bark shelter and be perfectly happy… Ashley would have a problem plugging in her hairdryer though!

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