Home, my heart grows restless at the thought of your return. For years I have thought that home is only where I make it, but then I felt something in my blood; in my body. I had never understood that romantic slogan German blood, German soil that lay behind the homicidally eccentric Nazi movement, but recently I have felt a spark of identification; of recognition. There is something in the land, in the soil, in the climate, the population, and the landscape that infects us.

Like Harry Heller there lies within me something unfit for city life; something untamed, claustrophobic, and slowly killed off in urban society. Like that Steppenwolf brooding in his room, melancholic and out of sorts, I find myself gazing at hedges, coffee shops, pubs, and townhouses and wondering where that spark within me has gone.

To have woods as neighbors and to know nothing of token trees on city blocks, to scour country roads, neighborhoods, and woods for salmon berries, legions of blackberries and their more exotic cousin the wild blackberry, salal berries, thimble berries, and red and black huckleberries- pomegranates of the west coast, to experience the freedom of a Sound that will never leave your side, to know lakes and mountains not as merely destination points, but as one’s natural terrain.

We are connected to this earth, and I imagine if we were to relocate to another planet we would never be the same. We would long for our sun and moon, our oceans and lakes, mountains and valleys, forests and deserts. So it is here on earth. We cannot escape our locatedness. “home is where the heart is” is a mere slogan for Hallmark and other family marketing campaigns, because that deep longing within us for that home that has infected us cannot be bought or sold.

German blood, German soil– a misdirected and devastating movement founded on a truism. What was pure was never anything distinctly white or nationalistic, but rather exactly what the words said- blood, soil. The blood is not “white” blood, but the blood which has known a land more intimately than any transplant can ever know. Like native vegetation, it often feels as if we literally grow from the soil of our homeland. I am speaking here of something much more localized than a patriotic or nationalistic fervor- this is not the inner stirring that leads to war and genocide, but to a deeper coming to terms with oneself and one’s place in the world. We come to find that soil is not something to fight for or defend, but rather that place to which we all return when we are done fighting, when we have given up the illusion that some conquest or journey to foreign lands will give us that at-homeness that we seem to have lost somewhere along the way.