Monday, October 15, 2012


i first understood the notion of place when i rented an apartment beneath the home of a local mother of four. this home of mine stretched from the front of the house all the way to the back, but only on the right side. the other side contained two much smaller studio apartments, and in the back was an extra two car garage that stood under another apartment. the family's residence dwelt on the second floor of the main house.

my memories of the year spent in this place remain in my thoughts with nothing but fondness. the house was old, and it was falling apart in places, and it was not always conducive to energy efficiency in the wintertime. however, there is not a single moment spent in that home that i would trade. i remember weeks in december spent curled up under the window unit reading Anne of Windy Poplars and listening to the ep Poison and Wine on repeat. i remember sitting at my desk writing letters to various friends because the romance of written correspondence can be replaced by nothing. i remember sitting at the kitchen table on lonely mornings staring out the window with my french press coffee. i remember playing host to old friends and making blueberry muffins in the mid mornings while they lazed in my bed reminiscing in giddiness like preteens waking from a sleepover. i remember long conversations with a special ginger friend about life over tyson chicken patties and pasta. i remember writing final papers and exams in the wee hours of the morning with The Half-Blood Prince rolling in the background as we needed to be prepared for the soon-to-be-released 7th installment. i remember knitting on the borrowed pullout couch while movies entertained. i remember the cold early morning walks down two blocks to work. i remember the countless treks across the street to class every day. i remember becoming more myself than i ever had before as each corner of this place closed in to familiarize itself with me and mold me.

our hobbit hole is what we called this place. the ceilings were surprisingly low, and like a tunnel, it wound its way to the back of the house lined with carpet, tile, paneling, and plaster. this is where i lived when my views of the world and my perceived responsibilities in it as a Christian were drastically remodeled and became unrecognizable by my younger self. this is where i truly felt at home, at my home, as the walls and features reflected my being. 

much of the time, the world looks at the envied life of a globe-trotter, those few with the fortune, the smarts, and/or the luck to be able to travel from one place to another, never settling for long before the next adventure pulls. and the world views those lives as amorous and charming. and for those who truly feel the calling to live such a way, and can do it with the peace that is necessary, they are doing what is right. and sometimes i myself desire such liberty. and perhaps the moments will make themselves available for a season or two. however, there is no other kind of peace that can replace the peace of present permanence. in my year of residence in the hobbit hole, i knew sooner or later i would be filing out with all of my possessions, but for the time i was there, i could not think about that. i had to be at home should that truth of home be for one year or for many years. 

photo by Rachel Guerry
place is as much a part of who we are as humans as anything else that makes up our days and memories. place is to be treasured and loved as an old friend would be. 

i should like to continue this journey through the notion of place in future writings.