Dicey looked at the gravestones about her. She read an
inscription: <em>Home is the
hunter, home from the hill, and the sailor home from the sea. </em>
What a thing to put on a grave.
As if to say that being dead was home. Home, for Dicey, was
their house in Provincetown, where the wind made the boards creak in a way that
was almost music. Or Aunt Cilla's big white house that faced over the water,
the one she had dreamed about. Being dead wasn't going home, was it? Unless—and
she remembered what James had been saying last night—home was the place where
you finally stayed, forever and ever. Then this person was home, and nobody
would be truly home until he, or she, died. It was an awful thought […].
If you took home to mean where you rested content and never
wanted to go anywhere else, then Dicey had never had a home. The ocean always
made her restless; so even Provincetown, even their own remembered kitchen,
wasn't home. That was why Dicey always ran along the sand beside the ocean, as
if she had to race the waves. The ocean wasn't home, then, and neither was
anyplace else. Nobody could be home, really, until he was in his grave. Nobody
could rest, really, until then. It was a cold, hard thought written on that
cold, hard stone. But maybe true.
If Dicey died, she guessed she wouldn't mind having this
poem on her tombstone, now that she thought about it. She was the hunter and
the sailor, and she guessed dead people did lie quietly in their graves. (1.7.7-9,