Saturday, August 11, 2007

H is for Home

Even though I've moved a lot, home has always been important to me. I don't really know what my true home is. I was born in Cyprus and still have family there, but we left when I was four. I grew up in Pennsylvania where I had no family other than my mom and brothers, and now even they are in other states. I thought I'd found home when I moved to the Bay Area, but then I started longing for the countryside. Landscape is an essential part of home for me. And if there are mountains and coastline in that landscape, I can't ask for much more. Here in Charlottesville we've got the mountains, and I guess I can't complain too much with the ocean being less than four hours away. But when people ask me where I'm from, I'm often tongue tied.

And then there is one's house. My house is my sanctuary. The way each and every thing is arranged contributes to the feeling of peace or chaos in that sanctuary. I have to say that one of my favorite homes was a studio apartment I had on Haight and Divisidero in San Francisco. Every time I walked into that place I felt a great sense of relief. White walls, high ceilings, wood floors, spare but meaningful decor, books neatly arranged on shelves, and a view of the city stretching down to the Bay Bridge.

I have a love-hate relationship with the current house I live in. It has many pleasing features, and others that are problematic. When I walk inside I'm not embraced by a sense of peace and airiness that I appreciate in a home. There is clutter and stuffy furniture and a kitchen the size of a walk-in closet. We have our tv in our living room which I've tried to avoid in the past. The fire place doesn't work and the bathroom is growing mold. There is stuff every where, stuff we've been given, stuff we've acquired. I've gone through so many purges, and still there is stuff.

But when the floors are vacuumed, and the coffee table is clear, and the light is coming through the windows at just such an angle, and I am sitting quietly at the computer with a cup of coffee, the muse is often present. And I guess that is what I strive for most in a home, an environment that welcomes the muse.

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