I am participating in Kelly Diel’s Write Me, I’m Yours.
Though I am woefully behind, I am reading each exercise and savoring the thought of each one. As many of you know, we just moved, so I had the opportunity to set up my home in a new location again.
This particular exercise just called to me – so fresh and alive for our life right now as our family navigates this next year with my husband in Afghanistan. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I wrote it, and I thought,
“I want to share the Grand Tour of my home…”
When guests come to our home, I don’t so much tour our home, I tour our things and the memories they evoke. Every piece of furniture and art that we bring in to our home holds a special meaning and place in our family history.
See the beautiful, soft butter colored couch that graces the living room?
That couch was purchased in Erick’s bachelor days, handmade in Italy for him. It is one of my husband’s favorite and most cherished pieces of furniture. So much so, that he is anxious when it serves it’s intended purpose of comfortable seating.
So I love this couch and protect it to honor my husband. I also hide the stains from him – from the errant dog lounging on the couch with dirty paws, or the tell tale signs of our gorgeous (and happily oblivious) 7 year old sitting on the couch with a snack.
The useful, sturdy leather couch is in the family room (thankfully, we have one now in our latest home) and sits reliably in front of the TV, ready to absorb the abuses that the genteel buttery colored couch cannot take.
Every time I run my fingers over the buttery fabric and plump the pillows just so, I am reminded of stroking my husband’s face, of creating a container of beauty and peace for our family to thrive in.
Did you notice those four pictures hanging over the fireplace?
A tradition that we have followed since my husband and I met and fell in love is the hanging of the four seasons. It is ONLY when this series of four pieces of art are hung that I know we are home.
The family tale goes that these four images of a single tree as it moves through the seasons were once on the set of a TV show in the 70’s, though we don’t know which one. There is a stain on the background of Fall, but it makes me love it that much more.
When we move, each of us is filled with delight when we finally unearth the Four Seasons from the bowels of the many boxes and the heaps of paper. Choosing the place of the four seasons is important – it almost goes without saying that they must be where we see them as soon as we enter the house. Even more important than that, the first season hung is the season that we arrive in that house.
In our last home, winter was first. In this home, summer.
This time, it’s particularly poignant for my daughter and I, because we both know, when we look at the four seasons, that when we meet summer again, next year, her Father and my dear husband, will return from Afghanistan. My daughter will be 8. I will be 42. Time will have passed, great joys will have come and gone, tragedies will have been mourned, successes will have been celebrated.
But the day my husband steps off the plane, when we return to summer once more, another poignant memory etched into the placement of the trees.
I could tell you about the hutch or the picture of the two love birds.
I could tell you about the Rising Sun oil painting that watches over me while I do my work. Or the sweet teak desk Erick surprised me with when we moved back to DC – the desk that matches his which waits for his return – in storage now. The African art that punctuates our living space. My obsession with Japanese block prints and the eastern aesthetic… The way we both love the simplicity and elegance of mid-century modern furniture and how much more beautiful it is for the indelible marks that my daughter has left on virtually everything in our lives, as children tend to do.
Each lamp, each vase, each image of our family and our daughter, each piece of art… each tiny detail carefully placed, the memory tended as I unpack.
It’s most certainly not about the things, they are talismans.
Reminders of the love shared, the peals of laughter, the first steps taken in so many ways, the earnest conversations, the rifts mended, the tears shed, the partings and the joyful reunions.
This is the abundance of my life, a life I strive to live well and fully.
A hint at the breadth and width of the life I cultivate, day in and day out.
Namasté, business yoginis. Cultivate well.