I’ve spent the last few years thinking about home: what makes it, who makes it, where mine is. I have spent A LOT of time on this, people. You would think, having spent so much time on it, I would have some answers.
I don’t, really. I’m in this quest for the long haul. There are certain things that make me feel home: a warm house, the smell of coffee or bubbling soup or baking bread, sitting at a table and leaning in to flickering candlelight enough so I can see it. The weight of my puppy lying on my bare feet. The sound of cars passing on rain-drenched streets. The sound of crickets.
There are certain people, too, who make me feel home.
I have yet to put all these together in any kind of cohesive way.
Now, I’m about to move into my new Seattle apartment, at the most dreary time of year here, and I’m thinking about ways to make it home as much as I can. It’s bittersweet. I want so much to feel settled for a while, to dig in, and I have no idea what being in this new place will bring. But I have my candles and my soup pot ready.
I want to close with a quote from the introduction of The New Laurel’s Kitchen, a hippie cookbook from the 70’s. The recipes are so-so, though they were influential to me as a twenty-year-old vegetarian cook. Though their influence didn’t last, (hello, I will never use low-fat cottage chees), this idea did: “Time was—and not long ago—if you wanted to live in such a way as to be warmly connected with other people, the world supported your efforts.
Today that really is not true. If you want community in any form, or family, or home, you just about have to invent it. Your version will be unique with you.
But the first and all-important step is to dig inn where you are and “make a place.”
May we all hold space for making those places, wherever we are.

2 thoughts on “Making a Place

  1. Word on the low-fat cottage cheese. I’m in a weight-loss evaluation and I’m supposed to be low-fat everything but some things I cannot compromise. Cottage cheese, mayonnaise, and salad dressings being the main culprits.
    Many of the things that make you feel at home are mine too. I’ll also add that anywhere my books are is also where home is.

  2. You can’t make a place into a home by putting objects in certain places and cooking up beloved smells. You have to come back to the place over and over again until the way there is no longer new. You have to work your way into the neighborhood until you just GO THERE when you’ve been somewhere else rather than thinking about the the route back. You have to learn the noises of the heater and the adjustment of the water in the shower. When you know where the sun will come in during every season, what will bloom first outside, and where the leaves will be blown into piles around the building, you are home, even if it’s not forever.

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