a home: from the eyes of a nomad

by tobias crabtree

i am sitting in the upper level of a blacksmith shop. there is a home-made bookshelf that holds hundreds of books standing quietly and knowledgeably to my right. my bed roll is out. i’m plugged into the wall where someone else pays the electric bill.

i pedaled one of Hunter’s bikes to the bar tonight and sat with him over a whiskey and a beer. we talked easily about life and it’s rolling hills. we are buddies, Hunter and i. as we talked, i began to spew about what home is. every now and then, when i start blowing a bunch of air out of my mouth, it will contain something worth hearing. tonight i felt like something was said. it was about home.

i live an unconventional life; in america, it is a little unacceptable. first of all, i owe nothing. i am debt free. i’ve paid my college tuition off. i did 4 years as a marine. i owe nothing to my credit card company. i have very little in the bank.  i’m 45, single, strange, imaginary, and a little sad (and a little happy). as i sat next to my good buddy, having just left my good buddy, nick, i realized that home is wherever i sidle up next to those who are dear to me. it’s not just the being there, it’s the having something to give to my people. what do i have to give? and if i bring enough, i feel at home.

so the wonder is this: if i bring all i can, and i give what i bring, i am at home with the ones i choose to be with. there are names i can give who are changing the world. they are the hope that i have. i don’t really have trouble with hoping for impossible bullshit. i hope for the things that are tangible. i see the fight-scarred brows that sit over the broken nose that separates those thoughtful blue eyes of Brian Foster as he plants his fruit trees in the desert. i see the dirt filled toenails of Nick Mahmood as he digs out the dark black soil from his favorite sink hole in the woods behind his garden. i see burly Hunter Dahlberg stand in front of his fiery forge and teach college students about life’s sweetest curves. i see Joshua Crabtree lift his boys over his head and show me through his love that life is worth the living. these are tangibles.

the names of the people i name might not mean anything to you, the reader, but they are folks. they are home. i haven’t a purchased structure and yet i am never without shelter. sure, i could be resourceful, as i often am, and make my spot in out in the world; but the point is, i am most at home when i am with the ones that love me back. i have slept at the foot of many beds. i am the dog come in from the cold. i smell like woodsmoke and wool. my heart lies, in truth, down in the hollow where the cedars grow tall.

and if you’ll believe me, you’ll see that my home is bigger than anything money can buy. the corners of my home lie wherever the love of my people allow me to be. i love to live with all my might. my heart beats so that i can laugh and sing with my tribe. this is how i am able to be here, in this strange and changing world…my people are my home.

eat your heart out, donald trump. with empty pockets, i am rich.