Sunday, January 26, 2014

Belonging (to a place) Week 4 Pagan Blog Project

When I was a child growing up in Kentucky, I belonged. I knew my family was all around me, both extended and immediate. I knew my neighborhood and what alleys would get me where the fastest. It was my home, my city, my whole world. I knew the color of the sky when a thunderstorm was coming, or worse that sickly green color the clouds turned before the sirens went off and everyone hid from the sky. I knew the smell of green grass in the summer time and the way it made my legs itch if I rolled around in it. All that and a million other things—just normal stuff that children absorb about the place they grow in.
When I landed in Colorado, I had none of that.

Colorado is so different from Kentucky it might as well have been the moon to me. I was completely lost and alone and deeply afraid. (And altitude sick like you wouldn’t believe). Louisville sits at around 300 feet above sea level and Colorado Springs is at 6,000 feet. That is an incredible difference. It just added to my misery. I hated Colorado for everything it wasn’t. I didn’t belong.  Then my father moved us even higher up into the mountains and we were at 8,000 feet. Ugh. (Drink water folks, if you climb in elevation. Trust me on this. Drink it until you are quite certain you will slosh if you move. I wish someone had told me that when I got here so, you’re welcome.)

It has taken me years and years of living here and even loving it to realize the sense of belonging I was looking for wasn’t going to come from outside myself. No matter how long I lived here, I felt just that slightest bit apart from. Going “home” was always my back up plan. 

I’ve jumped back and forth between Colorado and Kentucky several times over the years. I discovered to my deep disappointment, that you really can’t go home again. Once you leave a place, that place keeps going and changes in a million and one microscopic ways that you can’t define, but you can feel. And it hurts. It hurt me anyway. Your mileage may vary.

Belonging is a state of mind.  You can be taken in by a place and still hold part of yourself apart.  I have a pet theory that every place has its own spirit and power. I was always slightly out of tune with here. I wouldn’t be so bold as to presume after one revelation I was in tune and in sync with a place, but I’m a lot further than I was before it. 

Happy is a flame inside, the higher it burns the warmer you feel. Belonging makes me warmer.


  1. I moved around so much until I finally put down roots and made like a dryad here in Washington State in 1987. Before that I'd never lived anywhere longer than four years, so I well understand the sense of not belonging anywhere! I survived by finding at least one thing that I absolutely loved where-ever I was….and at age 12, here in Tacoma? I couldn't see well, but Mt. Rainier was big enough to see and I loved that mountain with a passion that DID warm me. And it brought me home at last, to stay.

    1. I have Pikes Peak here. The mountains seem to make wonderful anchors. I am glad that you found Home, my friend.

    2. I love our 8500ft environment. I've also journeyed much. Phoenix. Syracuse. Ann Arbor. Here. (Now I am a mile marker as the giant solar panel guy)

      Home and belonging does change. I love phoenix, but it is just a surrounding while visiting at this point.

      Even Ann Arbor felt alien after returning (Having become a single man). After 3/4th a year up here... It suddenly speaks to me.

      Walking around the acres with the cat. We love it here.

    3. I'm glad you love it here! I hated it for a very long time (way back in the teen years) but Colorado has a way of growing on you if you stay too long. It's a beautiful place, truly.

      We are hoping to be able to buy a nice chunk of land in the next few years and build a mandala home on it (really cool prefab round houses). Unlike you though, we will not be ANYWHERE near a main thoroughfare! *Grins*