“The journeys they made were beyond common sense; who leaves the hearth for the open sea? especially without a compass, especially in winter, especially alone. What you risk reveals what you value. In the presence of love, hearth and quest become one.”
That’s Jeanette Winterson. A line that floored me some time 12 or so years ago, before my my first real journey out to open sea, but at a time when my heart longed for little else.
I still remember it word for word, and looking back, it makes me wonder what it really was that I risked. And what I valued.
The picture above is from a not so distant past. Some two summers ago when I was suffering from my first real broken heart. A double dose. A job that had gone terribly awry and a relationship that had followed suit. That’s me in the rainpants. I must have been sweltering. Plastic pants in August is not something I recommend, but sometimes it just happens.
This was a job I took after a couple months of fruitless (and vegetableless) searching. What happened in the few months after I began work there has shifted the course of my life. A change that I’ve only recently began to understand. Or even see. Just a blink and a tremor, and my hearth and quest began to negotiate a merger.
Quietly, through Jamican proverbs in the field among the cauliflower, singing around the kitchen table, after-midnight bike rides, trump games and one more long cross-country road trip. Although everything seemed the same, it was gently bending around the great pinnacles before me, until I was past them, before I even knew I’d been climbing.
The details could fill pages, but they’re not the point. The point is, home is where the quest is. Long, windy, treacherous. Dragging on the ground. Because you need a furrow before you can plant your biggest seeds.