I’m traveling this week with my boyfriend to Pennsylvania, staying in the house where he grew up while his parents are away in Colorado. They had a beautiful sunroom added on to their house several years ago, where his mom’s plants bathe happily under big, bright windows. It’s a lovely place, full of light and the kind of freshness only green and growing things can give.
Our first day here I woke early, made coffee, and turned on the gas fireplace. It quickly brought warmth into the chilly room. I watered the plants a bit, happy to be gardening at all in early March. Some of them are huge, many years old, and practically bursting from their pots. I picked dead leaves and faded flowers, marveling at how well they all looked, how content.
Afterward, I sat with my cooling coffee and watched the sky change slowly from dull gray to bright blue, clouds and fog fading away beyond the window frames. I eventually made my way down to the floor, to lay on the soft green floral rug covering the tiles. The sun found me there, and warmed me even more. I might have been laying in some tropical paradise somewhere.
The only thing missing was the ocean, but it didn’t seem to matter.
I felt just like one of the plants, my kindred spirits, baring our bodies and souls together in the sunlight. I felt life and heat seeping back into my darkest corners, my hidden parts, places I didn’t even know had grown cold.
Laying on the sunroom floor, I finally understood how down I’ve felt lately. I haven’t felt motivated or inspired to write much, or take pictures. It’s been as if a blight has fallen on my spirits. And I’m not sure exactly where or how it came about. But I felt it dissapating in the morning light, evaporating in the sun.
If I was a plant, I wasn’t content, I realized. It’s as if the pot I’ve been growing in feels now, somehow, too small for me. My roots may be pot-pound. And in dire need of a good watering, too. As a gardener I know what to do with a pot-bound plant: You have to transplant it, move it to a bigger pot, to fresh soil, so it can go on growing. Otherwise, if it stays where it is, it may die.
And while it may be just spring fever or winter doldrums talking, I think there’s real truth resting at the heart of my feelings, in one of those dark spots that’s grown warmer at last.
The idea of home has been an ever-evolving concept for me. I’ve always wanted to feel secure, safe, to have a certain sense of place in the world, a nice tidy pot to call home. But in reality, I’ve moved so many times, it makes me wonder if there’s something inside of me that just is not in agreement with that idea. Some part that enjoys upheaval, transition, chaos.
I thought I found my true home a few years ago when I moved to the farm. It’s been a labor of love to watch it grow, change, improve, to nurture my dreams of it. But winter can be hard in the country. It’s lonely for me at times, living at such a distance from most of life’s conveniences, from many people. I knew I’d begun to feel trapped there, a bit. Discouraged by the isolation, the oldness and constant work of the house, and by all the trees that shadow it so heavily, blocking out the sun.
I’d started to feel oppressed, depressed, by my surroundings. And unsure of what, really, to do about any of it. Coming here to Pennsylvania was a break I desperately needed. It’s given me room to think, to move, to look outside instead of just from within.
Sometimes I think we outgrow the places we love, even though we continue to love them. Sometimes, in order to follow our hearts, our path, we have to pull our roots up and move forward in a different direction, one with some clean dirt to spread out in.
Still, it’s kind of a scary thought.
I can feel my life changing though, both inside and outside, circumstances and emotions shifting. I’ve always tried to listen to those voices, follow the currents, move with the flow instead of against it. And I’m very grateful to have, so far, been able to do just that. With no children it’s been easy, no worries about pulling up their roots, too. Only me and my animals, who are extremely adaptable and portable.
A new place may suit us all. It’s a notion to water a bit and see what, if anything, sprouts up.
For now I’ll go on sitting in the sunroom, letting the green goodness of this place soak in, enjoying these fresh surroundings. A change of scenery is almost always a good thing. After only a few minutes here, I opened my computer and started writing. Later, I went out to take photographs. Bits of color were popping up in the yard, the first blossoms of spring starting to open here. I felt eager again, and so ready to greet them.