John Berger /and our faces, my heart, brief as photos (English Version #159)

word pond

Nevertheless, by turning in circles the displaced preserve their identity and improvise a shelter. Built of what? Of habits, I think, of the raw material of repetition, turned into a shelter. The habits imply words, jokes, opinions, gestures, actions, even the way one wears a hat. Physical objects and places – a piece of furniture, a bed, the corner of a room, a particular bar, a street corner – supply the scene, the site of the habit, yet it is not they but the habit which protects. The mortar which holds the improvised “home” together – even for a child – is memory. Within it, visible, tangible mementoes are arranged – photos, trophies, souvenirs – but the roof and four walls which safeguard the lives within, these are invisible, intangible, and biographical.

To the underprivileged, home is represented, not by a house, but by a practice or set of practices…

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