When a son or daughter has been away for so long, there is something miraculous, which happens! The child learns to master other environments, in their preparation for returning home. It means they will be stronger, wiser, and more determined in making home, better! Sometimes, it requires crossing waters and distant waters, to acquire that knowledge, for a proper homecoming!
When we examine traditional, West African homecomings, we truly observe a particular transformation. A spiritual awakening! In this case, when a son has comes back from navigating the world, a growth process has taken place. From boy to man!
In the case of Cameroon, one son’s journey to carry on the legacy of greatness becomes a greater responsibility, once he returns. Reviving the spirit of mother and father ensures that the transitioned have never really left. In fact, all of the work it took to bring future seedlings home, is never in vain. Coming back is a reminder that one belongs to a certain spacing. A place of one’s own lineage, family heritage, and blood ties. A man’s cultural heritage and sense of belonging. Having that garden set and ready for him or her, is what permits mental clarity and nurture. One that sustains wellness and comfort, in times of being away from it. In those moments of feeling restlessness in foreign territory, while knowing that one’s spatial landscape is there (i.e. family, friends, and all), eases all tensions to the stress, coming along.
Then of course, when a son returns home, there is the wisdom of the elders, he must seek. Presented before the ruling council, and prominent people in the family, he comes to honor the spiritual presence of his mother and father. Heaven clearly has celebrated the return of his arrival. With that arrival comes responsibility. Now that he has come home, how does a son continue the wisdom of the elders? Giving back to his family, and bringing comfort to his very community and culture.
Grandmothers and grandfathers are some of the greatest treasures placed on the Earth. Grandmother’s wisdom, empathy, and knowledge reminds us of our reason for Being. Giving us incite into our very existence. The reasons for our failures, and the purpose of our talents. Grandmothers are the ones, keeping us centered when it comes to traditions. And, when we need a great shoulder to cry on, they provide that comfort. They are the gatekeepers for who we are, and where we come from. And, if ever we have forgotten, they will be there to remind us! In the physical, and in the spiritual. Grandparents always stay!
Moving in the way of the Universe, a son wears a garment of his mother. A mother who transitioned on, with the ancestors. Yet, those movements come alive when she is remembered. When the community comes together to honor her presence, the atmosphere feels as if she is still there. When the village gathers to remember the father’s presence, the atmosphere feels he is, there. Cloaked in a garment of his mother, he dances in tradition. Twirling in the way of their existence, there is a loving embrace, which wraps around a returned son. Caressing him for safekeeping. A covering of care and knowing. Reminding him he is never alone. In his next journey, he will never be alone. Their physical invisibilities does not mean they have gone. They are still there. He just has to get to that same level to feel them. Furthermore, he has to be willing to release the ego and any outdated understanding, of what he thought life to be.
One of the beauties of returning home is the comfort of releasing any anxieties, one may have faced in the process. Sometimes coming home can be stressful. Even flying can carry some of its own bag of anxieties. Yet, during those final moments, right before you feel the plane’s landing on the runway to its final destination, home draws closer to you. Once that landing bump takes place, there is a silent breath of release. We’re home. That’s all one needs to know.
What ignites the feeling is knowing there are people waiting on you. They are anticipating your return. And, the celebration will be the centering of you. Delicious meals are prepared. People from around the village gather to support a returning son, as he partakes in a ceremonial blessing of the feminine and masculine images, who created his existence. Its a glorious moment! Again, the auras of belonging. Knowing that somewhere on this Earth, there is a space, which belongs to you. A place reflecting your culture, Mother Tongue, image, and soiling. No longer having to struggle, he has his own garden. A garden filled with the treasures, fruits, and fertility of his heart’s desire.
Examining the community, and red clay, one can’t help, but to marvel at its richness. It reminds me of that Georgia red clay of my home state. That type of coloring has a message. There are heart-warming stories in the color, red. It connects us to that ancestral blood. Those ties that bond. Reminders that as we come from the Earth, so shall we return.
When a son returns home, its the wisdom and validation of the elders he must seek. How was the journey, ahead? What lessons were learned along the way? Lastly, what was the process of restoration and wholeness? How does it feel to know that one is now, a man? Now one has come to explore the riches of manhood, and masculinity. What must he do to prove its sufficiency, now that a son has come back ? That’s a question he will have to answer for himself. Yet, he is not alone. Furthermore, the transition of his parents has given him further support from the heavens. And, Grandma’s tales continues to enrich him, even further.
In our own journey home, we are able to reflect upon that inner euphoria. What did we leave behind? Who did we leave behind in our journey of adventure and travel escapades? We leave behind a lot! Yet, our travel journeys give us the riches and memories to bring home. Elevated wisdom we can use for our communities. Its healing. Its Divine. It gives us more to discuss with our elders. Appreciating the genius of their knowledge. How everything they stated, prior to, was, true! Further illuminating the energies of truth and realness underneath their words. What makes their tongues sources of treasure is how it reflects our observations in reality. The authentic words of Grandma’s tales match our experiences and observations in reality’s timing. Its why such stories can only be collected, and safeguarded, in the air of Grandma’s prayers.