From Oxford English Dictionary:
Definition of home in English:
1 The place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household.
1.1 The family or social unit occupying a permanent residence.
1.2 A house or flat considered as a commercial property.
1.3 The district or country where one was born or has settled on a long-term basis.
1.4 A place where something flourishes, is most typically found, or from which it originates.
1.5 informal A place where an object is kept.
The nights are drawing in and soon it will be that time where we have to put the clocks back, a time for getting cosy and spending more time at home than any other time of year. Since writing my last blog post (which you can read here), I have been studying The Poetry of Space (1992) by Gaston Bachelard for my Masters degree. It is quite possibly the hardest academic book I have ever read and my Oxford English Dictionary is always at hand to help translate to Lauren terms. Anyway, this book has given a new, deep, philosophical meaning to home to me which I feel must be shared.
Bachelard gives considerable focus to the childhood home which brings back memories of freedom in the space which was warm, safe and responsibility free. We take for granted the here and now and instead focus on our past or our dream home. I for sure play foul to this as I have lived in my home two years now and my partner and I always talk about when we will be purchasing our family home, the home which we plan to live in for our forever. We don’t often reflect on the here and now and how happy we are in our hard earned shelter. I guess it is human nature.
As I sit in my bed writing this, I can see my wainscoting which I handmade in my hallway and stairs. I spent hours drawing out the lines perfectly, even longer sawing the beading and longer still waiting for the glues to dry to allow me to paint it. Now it has become a part of the scenery which I walk past several times a day without really considering the time and effort involved. The lengthy chats with my partner about the mathematics involved to create the exact angles. I can also see my abstract figure paintings which I spent approximately three days to complete. The silhouettes are of my partner and I on our best holiday in Tunisia three years ago. There was so much consideration to get the room to coordinate.
I see my curtains which perfectly match my late grandfathers chair which I had reupholstered after he passed away. The curtains themselves are a lesson with my mother as she spent hours showing me how to take them up. I see my lampshade which at the time was expensive to me at £65 as it was custom made, the first thing I had ever had custom made. The lampshade was the basis of my first interior design project for myself and my partner. I see my wallpaper which I personally hung, again a lesson from my mother as my father who was a qualified painter and decorator passed away.
I also see my oak side tables with water ring marks splattered around. An annoying little thing which makes me think of the countless times I tell my partner not to have water in the bedroom unless on a coaster – yet I do exactly the same thing. I see our bed. The one place where I feel completely relaxed and warm. A place that always feels lonely when my partner is not here with me. The bed itself was the first gift from my partners grandmother when we purchased our home.
I see my copper picture frame with four photos of places my partner and I have been away to. There is Bruges, Paris, Italy and Wales. Each photo having a little story to it which brings back warming feelings when I take my mind there. Behind my bed I have three photographs from our trip to Iceland together. Three snapshots of the most beautiful place physically that I have been.
The walls. In their Sweet Moscato paint. Every millimeter I painted and re-coated. I painted with a vision of a beautiful end vision in sight. The end vision being the completed room rather than the future memories in the room.
For me, home is so much more than a location on the map. It is a place where I discover more about myself and my partner every day. It is a happy space of warmth, familiarity, dreams and memories. It is a place where I have flourished and found myself. I have proudly watched my partner flourish, grow and age in. It is a place I can call mine and ours, a permanent sacred place. A place which will permanently be a part of me whenever I decide to leave it, it will never leave me.
Thank you for Gaston Bachelard for this cathartic gift.