Almost anytime I read about someone wrestling with the notion of “home,” I’m instantly hooked. Especially if the idea of a fixed estate tied to kinship and property and a generation or two of Christmas holidays no longer feels home-like, somehow. There are more than a few of us wandering this floating rock that lack sentimental affiliations of that sort. I’m not knocking sentimental affiliations! I have my fair share. I’m just saying: that warm, fuzzy feeling people have about their own mailboxes mystifies me a bit. But I do understand the nest, the rookery: that deep, abiding instinct (from some primordial yesterday of our species) to build a pleasing shape out of rocks, mud, and bone—maybe even a beautiful red string from a trash heap—and to feel a strong sense of belonging to it. Then to destroy it. Then to build another.

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