[Previously on TTC: I’m a man of opportunity, a seeker of fortune . . . I appreciate home only in the sense that I can return to it to recharge my batteries for another go at something fresh and exciting.]
I’m a hunter, not a farmer.
So when I come home, I’m restless.
Sometimes I appreciate the lull, the comforting tepidness, giving in to it. But I have to have been really exhausted by my experience and in need of a very predictable environment to attain that sense of surrender and relaxation.
Truth be told, I may be a hunter in nature, in spirit, but, strangely enough, I have a ‘farmhouse’ that tends to my needs. No, I didn’t set it up. It was founded by my settled ancestors. I’m still part of it in my own way, setting out to hunt only to return to it and be part of a life that fulfills me only partially, yet so centrally. I grew up in it and learned to be comfortable inside it, and it’s hard to dismiss it completely.
Comfort! A hunter’s greatest desire when he’s away. His greatest fear when he’s at home. His greatest nemesis as a person and character. It contradicts everything he is, eating away at his nature, turning him into something he doesn’t want to be, something he would normally prey on.
But farmers aren’t necessarily prey. They enjoy a major advantage over others. Their home is a source of hearth. Their fortune bestows power upon them. That’s how they prevail over others and win them over: by sustaining and/or corrupting guests, visitors and clients with their resources.
Hearth and power! Seismic forces in a man’s soul. Along with adventure, they sum up the primordial impulses that drive men to become their ideal, archetypal selves: either formidable providers and patriarchs, or indomitable rangers.
Now you see why I haven’t broken out of the box. I sadly succumb to my hearth-centered comforts, returning more often than I should to an environment full of familiar faces where the fire is always burning and there’s food to feed everyone, having a good time in the company of familiar people. Meanwhile my nature calls out to me to do something different, to go and get lost in the wilderness, in search of something I can’t yet understand. Reject what I know and take a great leap.
It’s a strange feeling, to hinge my accomplishment on my complete and total rejection of what used to be home for me.
But, to be fair, it’s not unnatural. All men seek new ground on which to start a new life. They usually move away from their families to set up families of their own. They leave behind what they had in search of something new, something they may call theirs, something they have tracked down and acquired with diligent effort. Even farmers, the proverbial squirrels of mankind, set forth to cultivate their fields in ways no one else has done before, sowing seeds they may call theirs, breaking new ground, so to speak.
My field, be it a wheat patch or a hunting ground, happens to fall outside a world so intertwined and closely knit, I need to tear through it and break free into a world of possibilities it could never offer.
Until I do so, I will not be complete. I will be comfortable, but never complete.
Watch this space for Part 11