Thursday, June 28, 2012

Home



Kettle Moraine State Forest Park - Wisconsin. Lake Michigan in the far distance.

"How often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of Home". - William Faulkner

I came across the above words by Faulkner earlier today, and they sent a shiver through me. In a matter of days I will be boarding a plane, along with Tara and Charlie, and flying halfway around the world to my original place, Wisconsin. I have not been home in over six years. Faulkner's words struck me as I am not totally sure if I am leaving home to visit a place I am from, or leaving this place I now live to return home. A matter of semantics I know, but the real truth, and the connection to Faulkner is that I have felt his words strongly both in Wisconsin and in Aotearoa. Or maybe there is part of me in both places. Here in the mountains of the Ruahine, in Wisconsin the glaciated moraines and endless forests and lakes, and in both people I love very much.


My sisters Kathy and Trish, and my mom on my last trip home in late 2006.

There are so many people I am looking forward to putting my arms around. Family and friends both. And to visit places so integral to me and show Charlie a place that is also part of him. A sadness lingers in me that my oldest son Taylor is not joining us, but that is that. I love him, I worry for him, and I suspect that sadness will be beside me for some time yet to come. It is mine to own.

I am also somewhat nervous about what I will find in Wisconsin, and in America, in terms of having lived outside it for so long now looking in. The political discourse in my home state and in the whole country seems so mean spirited and no one seems to hear anything but their own tune. I know where my beliefs lie and I hope that does not clash with just putting my arms around people and hugging them - most likely never to see most ever again. I have had my eyes opened, perhaps they were half open back there, by some wonderful and amazing people here in Aotearoa. The way things seem to be unfolding in the world these days seems very ungenerous to so many, and to the earth herself. A simplistic view perhaps, but I am a simple man.

Friends Rick and Jeff on the Union Terrace at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Both have visited me here and spent many days in the Ruahine. This is a moment from my last trip home. Jeff still lives in Madison, and Rick in Milwaukee, both places I will visit. The Terrace above is where we all really cemented our bonds, debating and discussing, listening to the Friday or Saturday night blues or reggae bands, and drinking a few beers and stuff as well. It is still an important place for all of us.



Lambeau Field - Green Bay Wisconsin - Home of the Green Bay Packers! The colours, the pageantry, the marching bands - the states does indeed do some things very well!  Green Bay is where I grew up. I lived a mere few blocks from this stadium, used to hear the roar of the crowd as a kid and we played football in our front yards during the games, then run inside to hear the radio and  what had happened. I am going to meet some of those "kids" in a few weeks time, and very much looking forward to doing so. There are more than a couple of us "kids" who didn't make it very far past then. I still miss them too.  Green Bay and Lambeau are also very special places as well. Having my moms side of the family from Chicago - home of the hated Bears, made my childhood quite interesting. When the Bears played the Packers at Lambeau our house was taken over by grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends we called uncle and aunt, and best of all our cousins. Man those were great weekends as a kid. The Packers won't be playing while we are home but I am loving thought of showing it to Charlie. I have attended events in a fair few American cities and stadiums, none compare to a day like above at Lambeau Field. Green Bay taught the world to tail gate.


Even as I sit here now, some days before leaving, I realize and understand how quickly this time in my other home will pass. The Ruahine have taught me that well. To not anticipate too much, to not be disappointed or angry if things do not go my way - the mountains are very good for that! And mostly to appreciate and relish each second, each hour, each day, as if it could be the last time ever we are amongst such places, or people. I came half way around the world to learn those lessons which I needed to learn most. Now I shall be going the other way to apply them. And soon enough I will be back here, in my new home. There is a part of my soul that has been claimed by the Ruahine. A part that has truly found a home. And will never be lost again.

Aroha,
Robb

25 comments:

lph said...

Looking forward to catching up with on the Terrace Robb. I am taking a class on campus this week and have already had lunch at the terrace a couple of times.

See you soon!

Larry

Donald said...

Great post Robb and photos to good and apt to the story.

Have a safe and wonderful trip, and may you find peace just the same as in the Ruahine.

Cheers

Donald

Tim Koppenhaver said...

Welcome back to the States. Interesting that you see it as a place of such mean spirited political discourse. But actually, I think that's spot-on. Online forums have given everyone a pulpit, which then fuels people to dig in their heels adding to the angst.

Still though, I'm sure you'll enjoy your return "home" to the States.

TK

kylie said...

have a wonderful time!

i hope you find what you hope for and some extra bonuses as well

Beth said...

Robb, wishing you well on your trip. I think you may find a lot of changes, not all of them to the good -- there are things that make me quite sad when I go back. I look forward to hearing your impressions, both positive and negative, because you'll be going with fresh eyes. But love is something quite different from politics, and I'm sure it will be wonderful to be with the family and friends you care about and haven't seen for such a long time. I'll be thinking of you!

Pam said...

Hi Robb! It's been a while since I visited - my nature-loving wilderness side has been put on the back-burner for a while and withdrawal symptoms today prompted a visit. I did get to Berlin though and see my daughter.
So exciting that you are going back to Wisconsin soon and thought your family photo with those in the States was beautiful.
I've been to Madison in the 70's- bet its changed a lot since I was there!
All the best for your trip.

greentangle said...

Hope you have/had a good trip to the upper midwest. Not sure if I consider anywhere home these days, but at least I don't have as far to travel between the contenders. Look me up if you make it to Yellowstone.

Marja said...

Beautiful picture of you and your family. I can relate so well to your thoughs. For me the trip to home is just finished and I am left with many impressons, emotions. It went all by in a flash so enjoy it as much as you can. It was good for me and I tried to apply the same principle to go without expectations. One conclusion I can make now however.
I will miss my family but Christchurch is my home

troutbirder said...

Hoping the trip went well. The main things are still solid here in the Upper Midwest. We visited Chippewa Falls last week where my wife worked during several summer vacations. There we toured one of Wisconsins true gems,,,, Leinenkugels home of world class Honey Weisse...:)

vegetablej said...

If the trip is short, I'm sure it will be good. Maybe you'll be able to avoid the obnoxious politics and enjoy family and friends.

Come to think of it, you are probably back by now. Hope you enjoyed lots of hugs.

:)

Anonymous said...

I have made contact with the organ bank and am donating my liver to Cousin Rick in anticipation of your visit........hahahahaha

Steve Davidson

Beautiful Vision said...

Robb: Miss you so much already it hurts. I am content that you have another home but always a bit resentful that NZ has had you for twenty years and I get to see you but for a glimpse. Selfish, yes, but you are my brother whom I have always been closest with among our siblings and have always shared that special connection. I love you with all my heart and miss you even more now that we have been together that it has become hard to type as I can't see through my tears. I love you all so much and will patiently await my next "Beautiful Vision" when I see you all again. You are in my heart and soul. I won't be sad that it's over but smile for the time we had.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Larry - it was awesome to see you in the flesh and spend some cool quality moments together, meet your beautiful family, and sit on the Terrace. Hope you ran into Cos and said Kia ora for me. These mountains and streams are waiting for you e hoa. Always haere mai e hoa.
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Donald - like the Ruahine can be ever changing from moment to moment so was this trip. Lots to think about and hope to do so soon in the solitude of the Ruahine. Cheers e hoa.
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Tim - cheers. It was an enjoyable trip in so many ways, but that political discourse is still a shadow looming. On both sides to be fair.
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Kylie - hope you are well e hoa. The trip was full on in all ways, and there is much stewing around inside. I am sure a few bonuses are in there. I have seen a few already. Kia kaha.
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Beth - how exceptionally true your words rang. I flucuated between moments of pure joy and enjoyment and then outrage and tears. It was a very hard trip for my beautiful wife in so many ways. We have a lot to work through and I will eventually have much to share. Thank you for tuning in. Kia kaha.
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Pam - I did read about your visit to Germany and your daughter at your place, but have been a bit comment shy as of late, for many reasons. I would love to hear of your time in Madison in the 70's. Those were certainly some interesting times. It is a campus and city I hold dear and love very much. I will bet is still more the same than different! Kia kaha e hoa.
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora GT - Did not get as much time as I would have liked on the rivers and in the forest of Wisconsin, but enough to recognize the connection to the wild betwen here and there. Next time would love to take a trip up into the Boundary Waters, or out west if you are still there. Hope all is well e hoa.
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Marja - too true. Seems I am sitting here writing these words as if it were a dream. I concur with your conclusions and for me there is always a melancholic feeling that goes with that. A good one though. Hope you are safe and well. Will visit you soon. Kia kaha e hoa.
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora TB - I managed to have a few Leineys, and a few other wonderful Wisconsin boutique ales. Some of the most enjoyable with Larry Hale. I am feeling a real itch to return to the Boundary waters whilst there is still time. Be cool to do that with Larry and call in on you for a cup of tea. Hope all is well.
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora VJ,
We are back - just. Did have so much enjoyable time with friends and family, and for the most part managed to stay away from the politics, but not always. It is such a division, such ungenerous attitudes in places and views along the spectrum. Not much listening going on, just a lot of spewing and real ugliness. Hard to get my head around. Hope you are well. Looking forward to your sauce recipe very shortly! Te hei Mauri Ora!
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Steve - we both need it! So cool to spend time with Rick, in a good quality dose. We talked of you often and our time in the Ruahine, and Wellington. it was a great tough trip. Crumpy would have been proud. Your boots dry yet e hoa?
Robb

Ruahines said...

My Beautiful Baby Sister - I know and I understand your pain and lonliness. We share that and always have. I could sense your love, and your hurt, at the same time. I feel the exact same thing. You are perhaps the only one in the world I share that knowledge and connection with, certainly by the blood that pumps through our hearts. It is okay to feel sad as well as keep the joyful moments close. That is a melancholy I live with every moment. I know I hurt you when I left,but please know you are with me and in my heart with every breath I take. I wish you would write more, for me, for you, for others as you have a gift with your words. I love and adore you Duck Babes. I am always close to you. Aotearoa awaits. Kia kaha my darling sister.
Aroha,
Robb

Don Watson said...

Hey Robb, Don't seem to have the FB connection with you any longer....
Tried to message you through FB, but no success so will try this way.
My wife and I do plan to be in New Zealand this Oct and Nov. Hope to see you there and if possible tramp in the Ruahines with you. Contact email:donlyw@charter.net

Happy Trails,
Don