Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Home Again! Tuesday's Reflection
After two weeks of being on the road, visiting our son and daughter-in-love in Cleveland, friends near Boston, and friends in Chestertown, Maryland, the vagabonds unlocked their front door and crossed the threshold back to life at home.
Earlier on our last day on the road my husband asked me if being away had given me any ideas about changes I might want to make in our home decor. He was asking out of experience, for being away seems to give me space to re-imagine and envision. Plus, when we are on the road I always take a stack of home decor magazines barely browsed, and reading those, while glancing frequently at the passing scenery, encourages possible new arrangements and adaptions. I go through in my mind an inventory of what I have waiting for me in cupboards and bins.
"Yes," I answer, "I am thinking about removing the cream slipcovers from the living room wingback chairs." Doing that would expose the deliberately faded flower look of the fabric underneath. On vacation I had read a new novel Circling the Sun by Paula McClain about the aviator Beryl Markham who was friends with Karen Blixen and whose lover was Denys Finch Hatton, all of "Out of Africa" fame. That movie influenced my fabric choice when I had the chairs and a couch reupholstered over 20 years ago. It is still in good shape, and I wondered if it might be time for that look again. The rugs and other chairs and lamps would look just as good with the busier floral look, I imagined.
I had other thoughts--moving the chair in the entry to our bedroom and storing for awhile the one currently in there. A new duvet for the bed, and the lamps in there are really too small. Oh, and I want to go through our pictures from our trip from Paris and have a couple printed in black and white and framed for the first floor bathroom.
None of this is major and after being in other homes the last two weeks, I felt inspired to look at ours with fresh eyes again. I like that part of traveling.
But then we walked in the front door, and I was overwhelmed by a sense of not just familiarity, but more than that--a feeling of perfect contentment. I love the look we have created. Calm and yet interesting. A place for books and art. Personal with things we love, but not too fussy. It felt fresh to me and not just because I had cleaned before we left. (I love returning to a clean home--at least cleaning is not on my re-entry list!) How quickly I re-bonded to our home, just the way it is.
As I reflect on this, I realize my contentment is not just because the house is perfect or that I am a rock star decorator (I'm not!), but instead I have made a shift in how I most want to spend my time. It has taken a long time to get here. First, we waited to sell our home in Madison and then we went through the initial stages of downsizing and redecorating this little house for our taste and making some functional changes here as well, such as new windows and air conditioning.
I have no intention of ignoring the care and tending of this house, but this seems to be my time to rest with what we have and to focus on other creative and spiritual pursuits, writing, leading retreats, and meeting with others in spiritual direction. How lucky I am to be able to do this in the context of a home that feeds my soul.
I won't be pulling off the slipcovers, but I probably will look for new bedroom lamps whenever I am in the mood. And I am eager to open the bins of fall decorations--velvet pumpkins for the living room and vintage Halloween candles for the window ledge in the kitchen. After all, I don't intend to live in a Miss Havisham kind of house, preserved for posterity. But this is home--just as it is.
How have your attitudes about your home changed over the years? What gives you most pleasure in your home? What does your home say about you? When you make a change in your house, what internal reflections does that spark? I would love to know.