My North Wind came calling a few days before the New Year, and it’s been blowing wildly about, clouding my vision. I think I am a perpetual nomad at heart, a restless spirit, and any attempts to lay down roots are going against my grain. The price of belonging is high to us nomads. It means a loss of freedom to go and come as we please. It means being tied down. It means roots. Nothing scares me more than roots. In the same vein nothing is more attractive. I am jealous of my Bae who owns a house and a back deck which she stained herself. There is something in that, that is attractive, yet the thought of that type of rootedness scares me.
I always think of the movie Chocolat when this period in my life happens. In Chocolat, Juliette Binoche only gets to ignore the North Wind when she casts her mother’s ashes into it’s swirls. I’ve been wondering what my symbolic mother’s ashes are. What is it that I carry from place to place that draws me and makes me keep moving? Perhaps it is just me. If that is the case, what can I sacrifice to the North Wind for her to go call on someone else?
I wasn’t always nomadic in lifestyle. After 18 years of living in Accra, with a three year stint in Capecoast when I went to boarding school, I moved to the U.S. to Ohio. For the first 10 years off the boat, I only moved cities once. When I left to take a job at Notre Dame, it felt like something was loosed in me. I was away from family and didn’t have to follow any of the old world order that I’d been raised with. There was no one watching over me to make sure I did the right thing. So from there I moved to California, to Berkeley where I had always wanted to live. I probably would have stayed put in California if I hadn’t felt the need to finally heed that call to return to Ghana and try out the “been-to” life. The reality of brain drain was weighing heavily on me and I thought I’d do my part to help with that.
Since returning from Ghana in May of 2013, I’ve moved four times! Looks terrible on a resume and wreaks havoc on the bank account. I had become a minimalist when I moved back to Ghana, returning to the U.S. with only one suitcase. I have slowly accumulated things to make a house a home in the past 6 years, but they are all movable at a moment’s notice. Nothing that can’t be sold or given away if I needed to move again. This is purposeful.
I build community well and easily and I stay in touch fiercely so it’s never been a problem before to uproot myself every so often. However,
There is a part of me that has always longed for a home where people can recognize me in the town center and at church or whatever place I had decided to make my faith home. There is a part of me too that I think longs to have a response at the utterance of “Honey, I’m Home!” That tiny part of me is scared about what this means. A settling down. A putting down of roots. A giving up of always moving. It is an act of negotiation and I have to do it for me, not for anyone else. I have to give myself a chance to see what it really feels like to truly develop roots.
For 2019, for this New Year, my goal is to stay put, long enough to put down some roots. I think the real battle will be in saying no to the North Wind, wearing some deflectors as my girl suggested, and staying put because I have already built community and they deserve a chance. I deserve a chance at rootedness. Welcome 2019!