the house of belonging

by blogasana on September 8, 2011

This past winter I was at my dad’s place picking up tack (horse riding goods). He was tossing around halters and ropes and headstalls when he threw an old pair of spurs aside. I asked him where they were from and he said they were his dad’s.

My grandfather died when I was two. I know very little about him.

I picked up one of the spurs as my dad continued to rifle through boxes. Underneath layers of dirt and grime, it was beautiful. The metal was etched with a floral design and the leather had carved flowers, my grandfather’s initials, ranch brand and the town where he lived.

My dad picked up the other spur and threw it in the old oil bin he was using as a storage container and motioned for me to do the same.

As I walked away with my horse riding loot, I felt sad that such a beautiful piece of history was decaying in an old oil bin.

Later that night I snuck back out into the shop and stole the spurs.

After some TLC (and secret communication with my stepmom), the newly polished spurs, along with a photo of my grandfather and a badge from the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Posse he was in during the early 40s are displayed in a shadow box, which I gave to my dad for his birthday this past weekend.

Kitty sent a little extra love on the corner.

 

One thing I related to early on as a small business owner is people really want to belong. We want to belong to a cause, to a group, to ourselves.

That feeling of recognition, of being known, of acceptance and belonging starts in our families.

In this internet age of things we can’t touch, distance between each other and emoticons in place of face to face expression, this feeling of belonging has been redefined by time and geography (in many positive ways) but lacks pulse and texture.

I long for a sense of history, to know the stories the weave the roots of my ancestry together. The feeling of belonging.

To this end, I plan to do a family history, a modern “family tree” of sorts, for my dad for his next birthday. If you have ideas or tips on resources, let me know!

p.s. Even though my dad’s favorite birthday gift was probably the huge bag of taffy, I think he was really moved by the shadow box. :)

++

In honor of belonging… one of my favorite poems from David Whyte. Take another moment of pause and read the poem slowly, as if enjoying your favorite beverage.

THE HOUSE OF BELONGING

I awoke
this morning
in the gold light
turning this way
and that

thinking for
a moment
it was one
day
like any other.

But
the veil had gone
from my
darkened heart
and
I thought

it must have been the quiet
candlelight
that filled my room,

it must have been
the first
easy rhythm
with which I breathed
myself to sleep,

it must have been
the prayer I said
speaking to the otherness
of the night.

And
I thought
this is the good day
you could
meet your love,

this is the black day
someone close
to you could die.

This is the day
you realize
how easily the thread
is broken
between this world
and the next

and I found myself
sitting up
in the quiet pathway
of light,

the tawny
close grained cedar
burning round
me like fire
and all the angels of this housely
heaven ascending
through the first
roof of light
the sun has made.

This is the bright home
in which I live,
this is where
I ask
my friends
to come,
this is where I want
to love all the things
it has taken me so long
to learn to love.

This is the temple
of my adult aloneness
and I belong
to that aloneness
as I belong to my life.

There is no house
like the house of belonging.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Julia September 8, 2011 at 11:11 pm

That is a beautiful gift! Those spurs have such history and sentiment, its great that you rescued them from the storage bin.

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blogasana September 10, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Thanks, Julia! Yes, the were not storage bin worthy :) BTW, love that you walked 6 miles around Sac (read your blog) — kudos!

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Kelley M September 9, 2011 at 2:51 am

What an amazing story. I love dads and I love the sense of history, belonging and family you conveyed in your writing. I also love that his smile for the big bag of taffy was so huge but he seemed touched in the photo of him opening your sentimental gift. It’s all there in the photos.
Love you.

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blogasana September 10, 2011 at 3:21 pm

Aw, thanks Kel. You’re right about the photos. Even though he wasn’t as “excited” I think he was really moved. xoxo love you

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Nancy A September 9, 2011 at 11:31 am

what a lovely post! thanks so much for the DW poem too and link to his site. His words are such a perfect compliment to yours

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blogasana September 10, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Thanks Nancy! David Whyte is such a go-to teacher for me… glad you enjoyed :))

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Robin Netzer September 10, 2011 at 2:56 pm

I can not be any more eloquent than the thoughts written above but needed to also show you my gratitude with my thanks for both poem and story. Beautiful!

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blogasana September 10, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Thank you for your kindness, Robin!! So nice to hear :-) xoxo

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Leili Learning Life September 10, 2011 at 8:29 pm

Mmm…this is the day.

You’re such a thoughtful gift-giver. And not necessarily even in that you pick out good presents — but rather, what a wonderful gift to give your dad.

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Tami - Teacher Goes Back to School September 10, 2011 at 8:39 pm

the spurs made me cry. such a lovely gift of belonging.

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Anna September 11, 2011 at 11:56 pm

Beautiful, as always. Your poem selection is always so timely for me. Xo

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Ryan September 12, 2011 at 9:16 pm

What a sweet story and an even sweeter gift.

I have to ask though–how much taffy was in that bag when you bought it vs. when you gave it to him? :-P

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blogasana September 13, 2011 at 9:15 pm

If this gives you any idea…. my hub said You HAVE TO wrap this NOW or it will all be gone (3 days earlier than I would have wrapped it). It was a $26 bag of taffy… my dad got probably $19 of it :P

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