“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. “
There I was searching for a quote to cosign the view that you really can’t go home again. Then I found this one by Herman Hesse. Anytime I read an exemplary excerpt I feel like a failure for not having read the whole book. Instead I searched for it in the most pathetic binary way, and not by drilling into a text in order to be surprised by such soul wrenching language all on my own. The internet can be so pedestrian. That’s the problem with intellectualism, you want to hold the trump card at all times. Alas, anyone can sound like a genius these days, sharing quotes by the greats all over the web landscape next to a picture of them in a bikini or dead-lifting something in a bikini, many times misquoting or tagging the wrong author. An author they’ve probably never heard of. Just to exempt me from hypocrisy, I’ve heard of the author Herman Hesse. Funny story, I learned about him from someone who dead-lifts all the time. He had to pry that card out my cold, cold fingers.
So right, back to the “you can’t go home again.” Hesse reminded me of a huge tree in my backyard, it’s over a century old and was here when my homeland was dirty and new. I was told It’s a rainforest canopy tree, and holds lots of secrets, as well as a few loud parrots. Sometimes I rest my hand on it’s bark, trying to take in the ancient wisdom. Really, I’m secretly hoping it grants wishes. The roots are growing out and lifting up the foundation laid around it which thrills me to no end, I don’t know why. Probably because I understand the need to get away. I’m not really home, home is a safe place. At least the word denotes that, a refuge is more like it. While I adore my family and my dogs who reside in this pseudo home within an island nation that I try not to hate, It’s still difficult to call it that loaded word. Maybe because it’s here, on said island which is in serious trouble and who likes a home in chaos? I desperately want my family and dogs to leave for an actual refuge. The water is practically pooling around our ankles we have sunk so far into the Caribbean sea and that tree is definitely breaking loose, almost like it knows. You should always trust your elders.
I’m confused by what people consider a good life here; half of us can’t read or write, good people are resource-less as our government’s past, present and future modus operandi is, was and will be to get as much loot under their mattress as possible, not to mention our laws are a joke and the thought of what a bullet might feel like ripping through me has occurred more than once in my brain. I think the first time I really considered that was around 16 when a contemporary of mine was murdered. What place/human can develop well faced with that kind of neglect? They become feral, and that is the base character of Trinidad + Tobago. It’s feral and wild, such attributes have seeped into the people, including the very privileged and educated. Perhaps I need to take up a weapon.
You can’t go home again, I realized when I didn’t miss the place whilst away for so long. I missed my family, my dogs. My roots were not rooted, nor have they ever been. Some are just like that, more aerial. They are smart enough to know where to place their radicle.
I’m nervous as general elections are approaching and with either sway this feral, wild, twin beast of a country is only going to be pricked and prodded more until it consumes itself. That’s sad and terrifying. I’m sad and terrified. My dogs, my family. I’m already one root out the door but leaving a collection of souls I see as a refuge in a place that is not home or safe fills me with undeniable dread.
So you can’t go home again, I can’t be home again, I’ve never been home, but I can wrap my arms around that old tree and wish for one.