What is a home?
How precious a home is. How personal. Idiosyncratic. Like a fingerprint, no home is ever the same as the next. Despite the mass-produced efforts of DIY homebases, our homes remain unique, even if our houses are not. Because a home is so much more than a brick and mortar case. So much deeper. So much wider. It’s a world. A series of concentric circles, expanding ever outward. But from what?
Running my finger over the grainy walls, I attempt to draw it all back into me. This creation. The inset beads, the painted stones, each individual window frame. For I’ve been living inside a sculpture. Many times I wasn’t sure as it morphed and grew, whether it was in fact my product, or possessed a life and will of its own.
Yet despite illusions a home, no matter how delicately and intimately arranged, is not us. I learn this now, and it is a rude awakening. As I slowly unpick the loops and peel them back from my soul, my eyes water. For it smarts, this letting go.
With each passing day another ring drops to the ground. And another. Until one day soon I’ll stand bare, shorn of possessions, stripped of my façades. Just a self. A well of being. Naked. Free. Ready to create once more.
And because I’m still clinging, twisting each loop of my home in my hands before letting it fall away, there are keepsakes. Last week, my friend and photographer Melissa Maples came to stay. She rode pillion on my motorbike, used the mosquito net as her bedroom, and partook of the stars, the dawn and the twilight. Her eye for personal detail always arrests me. Without a word from me, she caught my attachments. One by one. My life. Each chapter of the Mud story that has grown out of me, or been subsumed within me. The secret rings of the garden.
And she is a generous soul Melissa Maples. Which is why she has decided to share her glimpse into my Mud Life with not only me, but you.
So follow me. Through the gate.
It’s over here.
Atulya K Bingham
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