Hugh and I are back from our beautiful New England. We miss it already. The trees here are not as bright, nor the sky so blue or the lakes so still. The buildings lack the harmony of those weathered clapboards with wrap-around porches, we are far from the coast and it would be difficult, even along the British coastline, to find beaches as breath-takingly expansive as those on The Cape. We have long ago fallen in love with the landscape, the architecture, the literature, the people and the boarding schools of the East Coast and we feel, on a level that could be called spiritual, that we belong there.
This feeling reminds me of a passage in Somerset Maugham’s, The Moon in Sixpence, in which he reflects on how we can sometimes find home far away from the place we were born:
“I have an idea that some men are born out of their due place. Accident has cast them amid certain surroundings, but they have always a nostalgia for a home they know not. They are strangers in their birthplace, and the leafy lanes they have known from childhood or the populous streets in which they have played, remain but a place of passage. They may spend their whole lives aliens among their kindred and remain aloof among the only scenes they have ever known. Perhaps it is this sense of strangeness that sends men far and wide in search of something permanent, to which they may attach themselves. Perhaps some deep-rooted atavism urges the wanderer back to the lands which his ancestors left in the dim beginnings of history. Sometimes a man hits upon a place to which he mysteriously feels he belongs. Here is the home he sought, and he will settle amid scenes that he has never seen before, among men he has never know, as though they were familiar to him. Here at last he finds rest.” p177