pull up a chair

where wisdom gathers, poetry unfolds and divine light is sparked…

Tag: home comfort

old friend, home

looking back, it seems i always fall hard.

once it was the glimpse of the gingerbread moulding, peeking out from over the sidewalk. another time, the hardwood floors that stretched down the long narrow hallway. years later, it was an upstairs window, and the glow from inside on a moonlit night, and the outline of a woman bent over, painting the sill, a woman who called out to me and practically sealed the deal before i’d walked up the stoop. after that came the victorian, with the sunlight pouring in from wall-to-wall windows and skylights, with flying staircases, and leafy full branches that brushed by the glass, making it feel like you lived in the trees.

those are the places i’ve loved, the apartments and houses, the homes. places that held me for particular passages of the story that is my sweet life.

this old house, it called to me from the front walk, the way the bluestone meandered up to the stoop, did not take the straight route, the direct route. then, there’s the pause, the two steps up, the tucked-in cove where the sunbeams pour down, where sparrows, for years now, have made their fine home. seems i loved this old place before i even got to the door.

we’ve been here nearly nine years, and it’s come to be one of my dearest soulmates, an ally, a friend. a house needn’t speak words to speak to your heart. sometimes, it whispers. it beckons with light. it pulses with ticking and tocks, and creaks in the floorboards.

i’ve come to know and love all of its quirks. the way the back middle burner stubbornly takes its sweet time, when i try to crank up the flame. the way the upstairs hall light flickers and dims, as if there’s a hand at the switch that no one can see.

this is the place, no matter the hour, that nourishes, that sustains, that refuels me.

it is my quiet place, a cove for prayer and meditations. it is the launchpad for dreams, whether those dreams are spun staring out the window, finding myself charmed by a finch or a cardinal. or, tiptoeing down in the dark, somehow stumbling into the courage it takes to bravely and boldly hatch some new plan.

this old house holds the chairs and the nooks that call to me, come curl up here. too often, i ignore all those pleas. i run and i scurry most of the time.

but i like that the offering is there; i promise those places that some day the hour will come when i will find time for pausing, for sitting and thinking. instead of dashing and thinking.

but even mid-stride, as i bound up the stairs, my old house catches my attention, soothes on the run. i notice the way the morning light makes rainbows on the wall. i watch the leaf shadows dance on the pillow, there on the comfy old armchair.

i know it’s just walls and wood, slapped with layers of paint, but a house has a soul, i’m convinced. a house is a friend, an old friend, a knowing friend. one that welcomes your cold bare feet slapping against its planks. one that drenches you in sunlight, even on a bitter cold day. one whose windows let in the wind. let in the cool night’s breeze.

what other friend offers a bath, a good long soak in the tub, complete with bubbles?

what other friend begs you to fill up its rooms, with your friends and your dreams and your candlelit dinners?

where else can you plop on the bed for a good solid cry, and the walls won’t ever let on? won’t share your secret, your sorrow?

and that same old house, the very next morning, it’s the very place where the dawn’s pink glow pours back in, gives you the air, and the spark, that you need to try all over again.

this old house, among the great good souls who populate my most blessed life, it is among the most deeply essential.

tell me how your dwelling place has seeped into your soul…..
and before we go, time to whisper deep blessings for our very own beloved slj who birthed her sweet baby girl, night before last. she has been a brilliant light here at this table through the years, and longed to taste and to relish the calling of motherhood. she is now among us, the blessed who mother…….a lifetime of blessings, sweet friend.

homey home

i didn’t find the squat yellow square right away. i wasn’t intended to. the someone who had scribbled it had tucked it away. left it in a hard-to-find place where i’d bumble upon it, oh, heaven-knows-when.

it was in the stack of post-its, when i eventually found it. not at the top where a name and a street address had been scribbled. it was one sheet down. quietly awaiting discovery.

actually, it was right on my desk, nestled beside my computer. so it wasn’t intended to take forever to find. just long enough. just enough to come up and tap me quietly on the shoulder. to say, psssst. here’s a message.

the message read: “you have a very ‘homey’ home!!”

i glowed when i read it.

especially because the someone who wrote it spends plenty of time here, but doesn’t live here herself. and i grew up in her house, a house i never really thought of as homey or not. it was simply, completely, capital-h Home. the place where most of my stories are rooted.

my mama wrote that note. my mama who is more inclined to note the beauty of a bird’s feather than to pay close attention to wallpaper. who cares more about tromping through the woods, in search of a bluebird’s nest, than picking out pillows for any old couch.

my mama, you see, grew up in a beautifully appointed house. a house where the living room was not to be touched. where nicknacks were to be tiptoed around. where when you sat down on a velvety cushion you tried not to move, lest you crumple the nap of the velvet.

i, growing up under the wing of these two house-makers, one spare, inclined toward the natural, the other well-upholstered, in a house with nooks and crannies that took my breath away, well, i seem to have landed plop in the middle.

give me a nook any day. give me a corner dripping with charm. but don’t over-upholster. and do bring the outside in.

the number one aim of this house that is ours is to make it feel like two out-reaching arms, arms that fold you in, hold you close to the bosom. arms that offer you tea, and maybe a crumpet, when the skies up above are gloomy and cloudy.

if that’s the very definition of “very homey,” and i think that it might be, well then, the words on the post-it did make me glow.

and to think that my mama, my mama who spends long hours here two days a week, hours when i’m not here, to think that she’d picked up on that bit of my heart, that one dream that i’ve sought out to catch, well, to say i was tapped on the shoulder, caught by surprise, made to blush, and glow just a bit, that might begin to capture the feeling.

i spend my workdays sometimes talking to folks about houses, how to unclutter, how to appoint. every once in a while, i’m told to gather a page-full of pictures of beautiful things, baubles, or doormats, or pillows. and now, don’t tell my bosses, but often, i couldn’t care less. it’s not what i’m after, not here in my house.

if there is any one thing i’ve worked hard to make here in this house is to make it be a someplace to come home to, a someplace where storms can’t come in, where the tock of clock, or the sharp scent of clove simmering on the stove are the soft things you just barely notice. notice enough to slow down the race in your heart, soothe the jaggedy edge of your nerves.

i want armchairs that hold you in their wings. and blankets so cozy you don’t want to move.

i want logs in a fireplace that crackle. and soft round cookies under the great glass dome on the kitchen counter.

i want neat and clean, yes, but only because i find it calms me. i want bits of the garden on my old kitchen table, even in winter.

i want candles on the table, and i want them most when they’re flickering, casting their soft seeds of light on plates filled with food.

if all of that makes me the poster girl for homey homes, well then bring on the cameras, slap me up on the telephone poles.

because long long ago, curled up on the patchwork quilt of my little-girl bed, daydreaming out a window, staring up through the branches of the oak that framed my view of the stars and the clouds, and mostly the heavens, i knew what i wished for when i was all grown: a wee cottage in the woods where the storybook could end happily ever after.

and my old gray-shingled house, under the limbs of an ash and a locust, it’s the closest i’ve come to that long-ago dream.

it is, at last, my homey sweet home.

what’s your definition of homey home? what parts of your house tickle your fancy, stoke the flames of your heart?