Last week we visited my sister Kaethi...always a fun time. Anya dresses up at some point. There's a fire if it's fall or winter, and we're out on her beautiful screened breezeway if it's summer or late spring. We have a casual lunch, chat, and drink tea. I might knit a little. The kids will play a game or do art or talk with us.
And then there's her house--there are interesting and beautiful (sometimes useful) items to look at in every nook and cranny of my sister's house. Every time I visit her, I am amazed by this beauty. It reflects her own cozy-yet-vibrant nature. I admit that I feel some envy each time I am there.
It's so easy to envy someone else's things, life, isn't it? Even kind of fun, if not taken to an extreme.
But then, I come home. And (on the one hand) my house seems less well put together--and especially lacking in old, interesting furniture and knick knacks--compared to Kaethi's. But (on the other hand) my house has its own charms, and its nooks and crannies are filled (but not too full) with objects that warm my heart in a way that my sister's lovely things cannot. Our things tell our stories, capture memories. I know that Kaethi could tell a story behind all of her treasures--in fact, I've heard some of them. But my stories are in my house. Sometimes I notice them, sometimes they just fade into the background.
My stories here:
The tea pot that is a remnant from an earlier "life" and relationship--the first of many, and I think it's one that I'll keep permanently. Mugs purchased as close as Cambridge (MA) or as far away as Cuenca (Ecuador). The "spider" print made with Samuel's 2-year-old hands that has perched under a living room window the entire time we've had this house. And Anya's snowflakes taped to the front hall ceiling...with Gumby in the background. Gumby has been with me since I was 22. It just wouldn't be home without Gumby perched somewhere.
In short, if there is less overt beauty in this house of mine than in someone else's, it is nevertheless the beauty that means the most to me. And in truth, I am trying to cut back on how much "stuff" I have here. I think I will never be a minimalist--okay, I know I will never be a minimalist. But I find that I love having space to move without tripping over things, that "blank space" on my walls and floors is appealing to me. I like having a little extra storage space. I know I want to cut back more, and downsize, sometime in the not terribly distant future.
But Gumby, he stays.
What objects around you say "home" to you?