Merinder's House

Archive for September, 2010

Running home from nowhere

by Jane Coutts on Sep.25, 2010, under Jane's Blog Posts

Bruce Chatwin once wrote something to the effect that, “I know well what I am fleeing from, but not what I am looking for”. I am in complete agreement and not in the least ashamed. Perhaps if people were to run away a little more, less of them would find themselves on stress medication or locked into the long, dark tunnels of the wrong-shaped holes.

I am not advocating irresponsibility – that is a matter for each one of us to judge for ourselves. I am advocating moral loopholes for the clinically talented, a psychological disorder generally known by a variety of less complimentary names.

I admire people who make strange decisions, the ones no-one understands until years later, when it becomes apparent they were right. They are the hardest decisions to make, as they must always be made alone. The trick is not to try and explain, which makes it worse, as explaining is the slippery slope towards doubt, and the decision may never be made.

This is how it is with leaving. I remember vividly the day I left, the day only the closest friends came to say goodbye, the ones who loved me no matter what – and perhaps because of it.

There are yellow paths in this country, where the sand has covered the bare rock and which go on for ever. They widen out sometimes, cross roads, almost disappear on occasions between stone walls and grazing land. They go nowhere and come back to nowhere, and that, for the moment, is where I should like to be. I am most at home with the ability to wander, and from there I can see all the paths in the world as clearly as day.

People often wonder at the great artists’ feelings towards their home, the places they grew up, their “ambivalence” as it is often called. There is, I think, less mystery about it than they think. It is just that home is best seen, and best loved, from afar, as it is a state of mind. I have fond memories of aspects of England I never even liked when I lived in it. Cricket on the village green, idiosyncracies. Were I there, I would still only watch them from a distance. I have long since learned that the images are clearest that way.

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