I’ve been craving being home lately. This is a surprise. I love venturing out into the world and the stimulation of the sights, sounds and smells of other ventures. One of my favorite activities is walking down a city street in a diverse neighborhood and peering into store windows or sitting on a bench in a park and people watching. I enjoy the stimulation of a conversation with friends over coffee and going to an event or even working–all out of the house. Experiencing new restaurants or sitting cozily in the corner of a booth at an old favorite place in my neighborhood fills me with happiness. My taste varies from the fancy, white tablecloth restaurant to the local pizza parlor but tonight rice, cabbage and mushrooms with some defrosted gyoza dumplings are just right—at home. What has made the change? I have been traveling more lately. This gives me an appreciation of my own home, my own bed, a pillow that supports my neck, and the comfort of familiarity.
Looking around my house I am able to experience it with fresh eyes. I’m admiring the ficus trees in the living room. There are two and one of them has been with me since we bought our first home almost thirty years ago. It sheds leaves this time of year but is still vital and strong and replenishes itself in the spring each year. Its cycle of change and growth warms me in the winter time with visions of spring and reassures me that life is cyclical and ongoing. Looking at its sturdy trunk and graceful branches, my mind settles. When I was very ill a number of years ago and unable to go out into public places, the tree brought the outside in and helped me know that no matter what happened to me life continues. It brought hope and peace.
My house has inherited pieces of furniture from my parents. This includes a desk my mother would use to write letters and pay bills. It has cubby holes that were always filled. They are now empty of paper but filled with memories. As a child I devoured books and would sit on the sofa across from this desk with my Mom on one side of the sofa reading, usually science fiction, and me on the other, usually reading fiction but it could also have been a biography or adventure story. Both of us were absorbed in our reading a world away but safe at home. It was peaceful and I felt secure. I’ve been so busy lately that I have forgotten the pleasure of stopping, dropping plans and projects and letting myself curl up with a good book. Tonight I give myself permission to pick up a book, forget all the “have to’s” and rest here at home in my favorite chair. I am grateful to be alive, well, and able to be at home again safe, snug, warm and peaceful. I wish the same for you.
By Elana Rosenbaum