We know that we are shaped by the geography of our landscape. Depending on whether we are residing in the middle of a forest, a desert, living on a rural river bank, a suburban house or the city street, each geographical space imposes its particular ambiance and we, in turn, respond to those surroundings.
This is also true within our homes.
Our seaside home in Sechelt was our primary residence for the last fifteen years. So many times I felt that I had moved there to be healed by the continuous wash of the sea. It was exactly what I needed without ever having known beforehand that I needed it.
During that time we also had many different Vancouver apartments. Some we rented, some we owned, some were in the West End, some were in Yaletown, and one was in Crosstown. One was on the 25th floor, another on the 20th and the last one in Yaletown was on the 11th.
In looking back at all these dwellings, and now, living here in the Olympic Village, I am struck by how my/our behaviour and lifestyle adapted and changed in reaction to the architectural geography imposed by each living space.
We now live on the 5th floor, but because the garden courtyard is on the roof of the third floor, we are only two floors above a lovely green space that includes a splashing water feature.
As well, for the very first time (!) we have an apartment with a large deck (150 sq ft) and in the week that we have lived here, I am sure we have spent more time on this deck than all the combined time on the little postage stamp patios we had before.
This puts me closer to some trees and nature. This makes me smile.
Our bike storage is more accessible. No longer do I have to go through four doors and two gates to get my bike. This makes it much easier to become more of an urban cyclist. This too, makes me smile.
Last night we cycled up to the Park Theatre to watch Blue Jasmine (Cate Blanchett is amazing!). We hustled straight up the Ontario bike route that passes by our apartment’s front lobby, hung a right on 18th and pedalled through a green tunnel of maples reaching over the road.
After the movie it was a downhill cruise. The sky bled pink and gold in a West Coast 9 pm dusk. I stood up on my pedals and swooped down Ontario Street. The tires made that squechy sound as the rubber ran on the roadway.
I remembered pedalling down Cherry Street when I was a kid, feeling that same freedom, that same lightness, as I barrelled down the final hill toward home.
Home, I’ve discovered, is wherever I make it. Each place I’ve lived has had things that worked great, and some things that, well… not quite so much.
Each time, my job is to minimize the defects while maximizing the advantages. But mostly? It is to practise gratitude that I have a home. Period.
Gratitude is the secret ingredient that morphs every house into a home.