I have always struggled with the question, “where are you from?” What does this question mean? Truly, those asking are wondering where I call “home,” but this could mean a lot of things. Do you wish to know where I grew up? In what house I recall my childhood? Do you want to know where my fondest memories are held? Or do you wish to know where my parents currently live? Where I graduated high school? College? “Where are you from” is such an open-ended question, and I don’t believe I’ve ever answered it simplistically.
I grew up in a log cabin with a blue roof, simultaneously attending Montessori school and my father’s lectures. I grew up among the cattails and the cattle, roving the salt flats and snowy mountains. I rode bikes with the cool winds of the coast, flew kites among the redwoods. I come from prickly pear cactus and turkey vultures circling above. I come from simple beginnings and “y’all come back, y’hear?” I grew up in the garden, tending my next meal. My siblings and I, forces of nature, building forts in each new place, using sticks as swords and our imagination as a guide. What a tribe we were, amongst the chickens, turkeys, dogs, and that one old horse. The Hill Country called to us, the ash juniper hiding the roadrunners and the hares. I grew up in the wilds, among the Wild, on the Base.
And now here I am, sitting on a futon in an apartment in a huge city writing a blog.
If you’re wondering, I don’t have a good answer for where I’m from. Maybe my parents could give you the birds and the bees talk, although I’m not sure that’s what you’re looking for either. In reality, I don’t think there is an answer. Therefore, I’ve constructed a catch-all.
Forty years ago, when my grandparents bought a parcel of land in the Texas Hill Country, the dirt was dubbed “The Harrison Wilderness Base.” The sign still hangs on the gate that’s always open, although the occupants have come and gone. The Base is more than just a name for a plot of land, though. It’s an identity, a name for us, for our lifestyles and beliefs, virtues and values. It’s where you call home when the world seems overwhelming. It’s where you retreat to when you need a minute. The Base is where my heart grows still and restless simultaneously, where my wanderlust and my homebody coincide in peace. The Base is within me, and with my siblings, our loved ones, and with anyone who might be willing to tread into the Wilderness among us, the Wild.
The Base is home.