This is our little dining room, currently graced with a vase of pink zinnias and black-eyed susans grown and cut from our yard. We moved here a year ago and the house has become a vibrant sanctuary and easy resting place. jb's studio (the magic cottage..) is in the back yard and my writing room is in the back hall (the rear wing). The soil is rich and the sun is full. The gardener in me is in a state of perpectual glee and awe.
There's more I want to say, because I believe that sanctuaries like this house quiet the mind and calm the nerves. The house was built in 1950 and is solid. Frances and Bullah lived here for fifty years, raised Bullah's daughters here. Last year when we first arrived, I was careful not to disturb Frances' oregano in the back yard or to make changes to the space that left too little of them. That changed when I heard that following Bullah, Frances had died.
Now almost all the walls are repainted and you can see jb and i in the rooms. We wanted a space where visitors could be comfortable and self sufficient. We want our friends and family here: staying over and eating breakfast on the patio with us. Swinging on the hammock. Sharing stories. We like that.
The house has responded: this is a comfortable comforting place.
So about sanctuaries: even a corner will do. In the happiness workshops I've taught, I advise creating a sanctuary as a way to keep it simple--a place to go and to be to recharge, refill, replenish, release, refresh. Even in the smallest places, a candle can be set and a photo can be hung. That's all it takes to make a sacred space.
We've settled in here. I've spent alot of my life feeling unsettled and unsure about where I belong. The choices and possibilities have confused me. The truth is that I moved here quite reluctantly, and only because jb couldn't continue the painfully long commute to her work.
Neither of us expected this house to be right for us. It is a one floor ranch, and we're not ranch-types. We moved from our beach place in Provincetown, and lived in a Victorian before that.
But today it is right. We have a fire place in the livingroom and off that a porch with windows on 3 sides. We have a half-circle garden with herbs and tomatoes and giant basil. We have a hot tub in the back yard, under the stars with a hollywood-blue light that illuminates the water. We have a dog who appreciates the simple kindness she had not had in her life. We can drive 2 miles and be among working farms. And two miles the other way and fall into the funk and buzz of a college town with great restaurants and endless music and culture. And: We have eachother.
Not everything is ideal: I'm too far from some people I dearly love. And I'm land-locked.
I'm writing this from a place of deep gratitude, but I don't want to mislead or underplay the vague discontent I also feel at times, because that is part of my life too. I'm apt to lean into that discontent more these days rather than ignore or disquise it, and I think that is a good thing for me. I want to be real, even when I don't know much more than that.
I think it's important to connect with and honor the spaces in our lives. Maybe that's why this house, complete with our little dining room (and it is little!) feels so good. We have mutual respect --this house and us.
With this addition complete, I now end today with yesterday's ending: Life has its ups and downs and all arounds. But today I'm just glad to be upright and present in a sweet place.