I have been reading The World-Ending Fire: The Essential Wendell Berry, sent to me by a dear friend. The first chapter, “A Native Hill,” has Berry pondering his home, which was settled by members of his family generations before his birth. Berry’s exquisitely flowing language evoked thoughts and memories of the locations I’ve called home, from my birth in the Wallace, Idaho hospital long destroyed to this present moment in Westchester County, New York. As with Berry, I live on land conquered by colonizers.
Earth is my home. I commune with humanity. The living planet is my community.
I was born in northern Idaho, and spent nearly all of my initial 23 years in that state. I traveled with my small family via automobile during summers, but most of my time was spent on lands stolen from indigenous people. I graduated from high school on the Nez Perce Indian Reservation. I have spent very little of my subsequent 35 years in Idaho. It is not my home.
I received two graduate degrees in western Texas. After a 9-month stint as a postdoctoral researcher in Georgia, which was not my home, I taught one academic year at Texas A&M University. My total time in the Lone Star State was about 5-1/2 years. Texas is not my home.
I called Tucson, Arizona home for 20 years. My life as a university scholar was cemented in the Old Pueblo. I escaped for sabbatical leaves and leaves-of-absence in Berkeley, California, Arlington, Virginia, Cedar City, Utah, Grinnell, Iowa, and the wilds of southern, rural New Mexico. None of these places are my home, not even Tucson.
I created an off-grid homestead near the first designated Wilderness Area in the world (the Gila), along the last free-flowing River in the state of New Mexico (the Gila). I found my tribe in living there for more than seven years. It is not my home.
I contributed to the development of a 57-acre homestead in the Maya Mountains of western Belize, Central America. I lived in the beautiful jungle for 27 months. Belize is not my home.
I have lived in Westchester County, New York since October 2018. I see a large, forested park out my window. I see neighbors and friends daily in this walkable village. New York is not my home. As with the previous places I lived, New York was stolen from indigenous people
I have seen much of the intermountain western United States. I am most comfortable there, in the outdoors. I have traveled within a couple dozen countries on four continents. I have not felt uneasy in these places.
Earth is my home because I have found beauty everywhere I have lived. I commune with humanity because I love interacting with people. The living planet is my community because I value the relationships I have discovered in nature.
McPherson, Guy R. 2018. Only Love Remains: Dancing at the Edge of Extinction. Woodthrush Productions, New York.
Pauline Panagiotou Schneider and Guy R. McPherson. 2018. Revised Second Edition of Ms. Ladybug and Mr. Honeybee: A Love Story at the End of Time. Woodthrush Productions, New York.
Mugs, tote bags, iPhone cases, tee shirts, and other pragmatic goods affiliated with the latter book are available here. I do not earn money from these items. Indeed, they have returned far less money than it cost to create and distribute them. I list them at the bottom of posts in this space in support of my artistically inclined partner, who created them.