|On the wall, an oil painting by my friend, painter Nancy Nichols-Pethick.|
What I know of home is a shelf bowing beneath the weight of books, rose hips left to dry in a vase, postcards leaned above the fireplace. Home is jam jars keeping treasures safe: nutmeg, buttons, paper fortunes.
I thumb through catalogs before I toss them into the blue bin. "Home," the say again and again, sporting flea market knockoffs for ten times the price of the beauty to be found on a country Sunday.
What I know of home is as warm and slow as sunlight arcing through the afternoon across worn wooden floors.
It is gatherings of the found and the made,
worn reminders of someone else's story, someone else's time and place.
Talismans and touchstones guide us through our days. The doorknob we've turned a thousand times, the old brass latch, the window sash, the stack of mismatched plates.
Home is in the wind's rush high above when I open the damper to light a fire; it's in the rumble, hiss, and clank of radiators coming to life as if the house were about to launch into space; and it's there in a shared laugh in the kitchen over a terrible joke we'd never tell another soul.
Where we live, home is five months of glances out windows, waiting for the first crocus, the first sign of any little bit of green--even as we treasure the cold, if it means another fire on the hearth, another cup of tea.
What I know of home are choices. Small things, like where to keep the linens or which drawer will hold the batteries, paper clips, and rubber bands. Quarrels over what's for dinner--who's in the mood for fish or risotto or tacos or greens. And big questions, too, about how we will use each room to share sunlight, food, moonlight, and friendship.
Mostly I find home when I forget all about catalogs and design and what we do or do not own. Or more accurately, home finds me in those moments when all that matters in the world is a good sentence in a favorite book or when my arms and legs are sore from digging in the garden (during those seven snow-free months) or shoveling snow (during the other five). I can arrange and rearrange the furniture--which I have done and will always do--but I know that no matter where the sofa goes, home is in the living.
Where do you find home--or where does it find you?