Frogs skim the surface of the green pool in our São Paulo backyard. A different beggar knocks every morning on the heavy wooden door. Brown beans and rice simmer in a cast iron pot. A low dance of voices wind up the staircase. Socks slip and itch. A shoot of sun reaches through the sway of curtain. I sit on the floor and watch dust motes travel the bloom of light. An orange cat sits under the shade of a small white car.
Wool socks and boots and jackets with zippered pockets. Walks to the bus stop while snow falls like cherry blossom petals after a rain. The crunch and slick of a Pennsylvania winter underfoot. The cold finds its way between the fingers of my glove. Children sled past our house. Backyard runs into backyard, white hill becomes whiter sky. In the distance a black dog lifts its wet nose into the cold air. The neighborhood trees are trimmed in lace sharp ice.
Canyons give way to winding roads, houses perch like birds and then there is a sudden plunge of white cap and riptide. Miles of California sand. Wildfires in October, tumbleweeds and stucco on the ceilings. Suntan lotion and black plastic sunglasses. Sandy peanut butter sandwiches. Cut grass, fresh paint, sourdough toasting in an oven. Silverfish dart into unreachable corners. I fall asleep to coyotes singing a cold embrace of night.
On the corner there is a store filled with buttons of every color, shape and size. A mile away, dried fish sold from bins on the street. Pickles in barrels. A man plays drums made out of five gallon plastic buckets in front of my New York apartment. A percussion of heat comes up the pipes. Books and more books from floor to ceiling. Body sways with other bodies as the subway carries us through the dark underground tunnels. In the park a woman reaches up to meet a kiss. I look out the window of a high-rise and see the city return as though through the eye-hole of a kaleidoscope.
One hundred shades of green. Spindly trees, lush trees, white flowering and pink flowering trees. Grinding coffee beans. An insistence of rain. Dark puddles on asphalt pattered, mud softened, wet dog, yellow slicker rain. Children pour warm bubbly bath water over each other’s heads. A cat drinks from a glass filled with water on the kitchen table. I cut the figures of memory from the finest sheet of paper and pin them on the wall as the neighbor starts up his old blue truck.
Traveling always challenges my idea of home. Where is home? Am I in the right place? Please share what home means to you.