“Philosophy is really nostalgia, the desire to be at home.”
Names have power. Names convey identity. Names mark seasons of life and spaces. Names help you find a sense of ownership or belonging: they mark the beauty and the hope for and within a place (or for a child).
Rural properties in Australia commonly have a name that identifies it to the community. Addresses have only recently been changed to numbers that indiciate to emergency services the distance down a particular roads. I say that it is the usual regional and rural experience for someone who grew up on farming land to know that place by a name before and perhaps even separate from a street address because that was my experience.
I grew up on a property with a name. The names of these lands have meanings. Funny or serious, cryptic or plain, they imbue meaning in a place. Names like Dunmore, Beth-haven, or Windmill Downs have a story. They might be drawn from a first peoples language, or represent a family legacy or origin. If you have been following my writing for a while, you will know that I have named some of my homes: with names like the Cottage-by-the-Sea and the Studio.
We wrestled for a while with the name of this home, our first home. We settled on calling this one, The cottage as well. It might not seem very creative to you. But it is a cottage style home, and it reminds us that we desire a cozy and comfortable home. We do use another name for the area in which we live – but personal security considerations are going to prevent me from sharing that here.
Naming is important. Maybe you already have a name for your home, informal or otherwise.
Do you have a name for your home? informal or otherwise?
What does that name say about how you feel about your home? What does it mean?
I have wrestled too with my own name and how this affects identity over the last nine months. In some ways, moving to the other side of the world is the perfect time to be transformed, almost like a butterfly from a chrysalis. It’s still a matter of cognitive dissonance. Who am I? How important is your name? I am not either/or, but both/and.
There are some who don’t know me by any other name than the name I took when I married, others who know me by both, and some who know me by the name I have carried most of my life. I have nicknames and family terms of endearment names. There are your true selves, your true names and maybe only some in your life know those names.
As we explore the idea of home, take some time today to think about the names and the meaning of those names that you’ve had for places you’ve lived — and maybe are living now. How can you mark that name in your present location? Do you want to?
Listening. Observing. Participating. Writing. Photographing. Reflecting.
Anna Blanch Rabe is an Australian-born writer and photographer. You can follow her adventure on Not A Pedestrian Life, or Facebook. More of her photography can be viewed here. For more domestic things take a look at Quotidian Home or her previous website, Goannatree.
This is Day 6 of 31 days to Making a House a Home. The Introductory post is here.
This is the first 31 days series published on Quotidian Home.