05 March 2016
Houses That Breathe
I looked back in my life and found this motif, rebirthing itself constantly. When did I feel safe, my memory asked. What did feeling good actually feel like, and where in my body did that sensation live? In my belly it said. But it lived first in my godmother's northern California stucco home with the arched doorways and all the plants; a childhood best friend's house (both her parents are prolific artists) with the hollowed wall shelves and vases and baskets, the garden room, a home befit for Georgia O'Keeffe. The theme of white halls running on, curving into themselves, the shadow play, the reverence of texture, the life-giving state of shapes becoming new ones as walls dip, stretch into doorways. Houses that breathe. It lived here first before I found these spaces and assimilated to their calm.
What I first said to Robbie as we moved into our home was "let's do this intentionally." Let's live in this place and let it talk to us. Let's learn its curves, its flows, where its energy pools and where it hurries out. We'll burrow into it. But slowly.
What I was after was being responsive. Present. States of mind I am ever after, am ever happy in the midst of, am ever, ever needing.
For now, our white walls simply are. They are purposeful & energetic unto themselves. We are letting them breathe, and in time, direct us. For now, only a few items (mostly thrifted):
-- A wee little shelf (with soy candles & a self-portrait of mom) rounding the curve to the bedrooms. A reminder to be soft, and lovely, and light.
-- A papier-mâché fox. Placed up high, he elongates the wall. He peeks over the stairs. A friendly face. A reminder to love all living things.
-- Accordion pegs. A spot to hang totes for totes, an in-between place for laundry bags. A reminder that home starts at the door. This is our retreat. We leave heavy bags and shoes at the door.
-- A crescent moon catch-all for keys. Its shape, a reminder of phases. Its woven texture, a reminder that all of it, everything, you and I even, is a work in progress.
Yes, yes. are choosing to build this place slowly. Being grateful for the chance -- the utter, wonderful chance -- of this life.