Ever since I visited Petra, Jordan, I've been thinking about ownership and home. My home. The one owned by the bank back in Florida; the one that I want to be mine 100%.
I never dreamt of buying a house. The white picket fence, the backyard, and the swing under a tree were never part of my dream. I wanted to travel forever, never growing roots, never staying in a place long enough to call it home. Then, I hit the forties and with the big four came the need to own and to settle.
Petra, the over 2000-years old prehistoric settlement, situated between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea, is a pink rock-cut city. This wonder is half-built, half-carved into the rock, and is surrounded by mountains and gorges. Its vastness and the intricacy of their architecture--channels, tombs, tunnels, dams, copper mines, temples, churches and housing—is mind-boggling. The ancient city of Petra was literally carved from the sandstone cliffs of southern Jordan, a place that some 20,000 Nabataeans called home. In my opinion, Petra is a little bit like Las Vegas inasmuch as it involves a group of people dreaming of creating something in the middle of nowhere, of a Utopian home in the heart of a barren desert, against all odds, and succeeding.
Petra means "rock" in Greek. Then, there is this house in Florida. And when I think of the wacky tiles on the kitchen counter, the wooden floors, the cathedral ceiling, the dated shower, the balcony overlooking the artificial lake, the field next door with the horses and the cows, I want to claim all of it as mine. I want to own that house, not just in my heart, but on paper. That house is my Petra.
I don’t want the bank to claim the place where I faced the most daring challenge of my life: motherhood; where I discovered that I do love dogs, infinitely; and where I navigated, successfully, the perilous journey of the early years of my marriage. That’s the home of my girlfriends too. Of Connie, Linda, Karen, Lisa, Jody, Susan, Shannon, Daissy, Savvy, Jaqui, Cherie, and their families. The bank doesn't care about the tears I shed one night in the backyard, looking at an eclipse, and begging the sky for some peace. The bank that owns my house doesn't know that our dog is buried under a tree, that her grave is shaped like a heart and that from it sprung blue orchids.
Ownership: Legal right to the possession of a thing.
Maybe it's the weather in this Middle Eastern country from where I write that made me nostalgic. Maybe it's looking at the pictures I took of Petra that reminded me of home. Maybe I miss a good glass of moonshine, a plate of mean redneck caviar, and the smoky smell at a Pigfest. Maybe I yearn for a brisk walk around Lake Hollingsworth with my girlfriend, or a gathering of friends under some Tiki bar where more than one secret was uttered. Or, maybe I'm just getting old; too old to still be paying a mortgage.