We’re all migrants from somewhere. There are probably a few of us left in our (so far apparent) homo sapiens hometown of East Africa, but the rest of us are migrants, or children & grandchildren of migrants. These days we love to slam that door behind us, or vilify those knocking on the door. Or whom we’ve displaced. Or whom we feel displaced us – long ago or yesterday.
Home is where we make it. It’s one of our fantastic human adaptations – maybe not as phenomenal as bipedalism, but highly functional nevertheless. When things got too tight with the neighbors way back when, it probably wasn’t too hard to move our campfires a few hundred feet further along the coast or up the hill… & we could still saunter back & visit grandkids in the old hood. It’s just…well, it’s just our problematic, parallel compulsion to believe that we own where we are. Some of us believe that there’ve been cultures that advanced beyond this belief…cultures which understood that this human primate is part of nature. I dunno…not many of them survive to tell.
I’m a Santa Cruz immigrant from LA, drawn north by the new University (…yeah, that was a while ago). My parents migrated west from Minnesota. Their ancestors migrated across the Atlantic Ocean from northern Europe, & their ancestors were transplants from Africa, maybe via Asia – we may never know for sure. The story of ancient human migrations is ever changing, thanks to new discoveries of old fossils & new ways of analyzing old data.
We’ve lived in ‘our’ Live Oak Avenue home for 26 years. Daughter Z has moved at least nine times in the past nine years. Worldwide, tens of millions of humans are on the move every year – voluntarily or involuntarily.
This past week we’ve been voluntarily displaced from our home. It’s disturbing. I cook soup to feel attached to the (very charming) upstairs apartment we’re temporarily inhabiting; I spread my things around; I put my ear to the open window trying to figure out what’s making those unfamiliar sounds. I am across the street & two doors down from our home. I am clearly a migration wimp.
Millions of humans don’t enjoy that luxury. Severe economic distress, civil wars & water wars, dysfunctional governments, natural resource depletion, climate change, population growth – these & other factors will only increase human migration into the future.
It’s probably time to figure out a better way to welcome our new neighbors. Next year they may be us.