Many an hour of my tiny existence has been spent on pondering the reasons as to why people stay in places. I suppose I’ve been trying to work out the meaning of the word “home”. A bolt of lightening-like inspiration once came to me whilst watching a nature documentary about Wildebeest.
Now then, I’ll have to ask you to bear with me while I try to explain.
I was born in a small town called Wigan. I’ve visited a fair amount of places, for my age, I suppose. My chosen career as a musician does not require me to reside in any place in particular, so I wouldn’t ever live somewhere solely for my job. At times I have lived in proximity to a person of my liking, but I’m currently without such a person, so I couldn’t say that has influenced my choice of abode. Nevertheless, I’ve always returned to the general area of Manchester, and I certainly consider it to be my home.
It has to be said that there are many places prettier, sunnier and cheaper to live in than the place I reside. Nevertheless, I choose to stay here. “choose” being the operative word.
I was thinking about lions. Lions eat the wildebeest on the Serengeti. When the wildebeest migrate from the liony area, the lions go hungry for a number of months until the wildebeest return. In my simple way, I wondered why the lions don’t just follow the wildebeest and carry on eating them all year round. Then I realised that wherever the lions live, the lions stay. They are not a migrating species. They don’t have an awareness of where the wildebeest go. They probably haven’t even thought of it! (oh how I long to have a lion’s peaceful mind) All they know is that sometimes there are wildebeest around, and sometimes there aren’t. Well, I got to thinking how all the animals in the world would be much better off if they only knew what was round the corner. If penguins knew about two things 1.Barbados and 2.boats, they’d never stand there in the middle of the Antarctic for half the year, huddling up to strangers in an effort to keep warm.
But they don’t know about Barbados. Or boats.
This got me thinking further. There are certain reasons why things stay in places… some of these reasons are obvious. For instance, tigers have never come to England because they couldn’t swim that far. Cicadas stay in the tropics because they need the heat to warm their bodies. A man born in outer Mongolia might not visit Spain because he hasn’t the money or the relevant inspiration / education to arrive at the place of thinking he might visit the place. A woman might stay in Manchester because she likes the place that does good coffee nearby where she lives.
I largely subscribe to the belief that for every one thing that is obvious and visible, there are ten things that we haven’t found out yet. Like icebergs, only a tiny amount pokes out of the water, the sea hides the vast majority of an iceberg. So, for every obvious reason, there are probably ten reasons that we can’t fathom.
The obvious reasons for living in a place would be job, partner, climate, culture, affordability etc. But just think, there are things that tie a person to a place that go far beyond all of that. Why do people stay in unhappy relationships, even though it’s just a matter of sharing out the c.d.s and deciding who gets the cat, I ask you? Why do people stay in jobs that they dislike, even though they would have no problem finding a different career? I’m not saying I know the answer, but there is definitely a driving force much deeper than human rationale that dictates the way things live.
(n.b I’m not making a judgement about others, for I myself have both stayed in bad jobs and hesitated to be parted from pets in the past)
If everything accorded with what the human race’s intellectual capacity can comprehend (try saying that when you’re drunk), then the lions would definitely follow the wildebeest and penguins would be would be sunning it up in The Caribbean.
In short, there are many reasons that cause a thing to be in a place. Some of those reasons are beyond the human intellect to understand.
Throughout all of this I was feeling that there must be a profound reason for my existence, and wherever I am is part of me living out that existence. I couldn’t tell you exactly what the reason is, because it is like the middle of an iceberg, you know it is there but you could only ever guess at what is looks like. Knowing it is there is enough. The lions live in their way, and I live in mine.
Don’t worry I’ll be back to blogging abut my misfortunes on the French rail system, or other such matters, soon.
p.s. I really want to live on a canal boat but I don’t know how I’d get a grand piano onto one.