Observing My Space

Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.
— Joseph Conrad

This morning I looked around the house that I've been occupying for nearly three years. It sits up on a hill so I have a panoramic view of the Pacific skyline. I live alone in a three bedroom house and use one room as an office, another as a yoga and pop-up guest room for family visits. Two weeks ago, my brother and his family flew in from New Jersey and when they drove out for a final trip to the beach this morning, this is what I observed.

  • My refrigerator and pantry are filled with items that I don't normally buy, eat, or drink.
  • My one cup espresso maker has been temporarily outdone by a slick new Aeropress.
  • Once idle outlets are now being occupied by laptop, iPhone and iPod chargers. We're only now getting used to the pings and beeps from  each others' devices.
  • Trash and compost bins fill up with near hyperlapse speed.
  • My nephew spends most of the day on an airbed in the guest room, playing Wii games.  Whenever he shifts his body, there's a gurgling sound emitted from the pumped in air, trapped in the vulcanized rubber mattress.
  • When we're all home, there's a white Chevy SUV parked in the driveway and part-time basketball court; someone's here.

My space is large enough for four people to comfortably have some private time in various spots indoor and out. All of this space will suddenly fall silent tomorrow afternoon, when they drive away as I wave good-bye and close the gate behind them. It will take me several days to adjust to the silence and emptiness when our conversations are once again handled by Short Message Service.

I am never lonely and I enjoy my solitude, but I also enjoy company and miss people when they leave. Especially when they are here for more than a few days and leave behind spaces filled only in my memory. That's just my observation.

Everybody Needs His Memories

 Peeking out from my dressing (!!) room, Villa La Massa.

Peeking out from my dressing (!!) room, Villa La Massa.

 Steps to the Arno at Villa La Massa.

Steps to the Arno at Villa La Massa.

I went looking for an old photo to post for today (throwback Thursday) and came upon some pictures taken during a trip to Italy with friends, in 2000. We, four couples, stayed at two fabulous hotels in Florence, the Villa San Michele and Villa La Massa. It was back in the pre-historic era (pre-iPhone) and if not for the photos that friends with DSLR cameras took, my memory of that trip would be even less than slim.  

 Looking out from our rooms at Casa Berti.

Looking out from our rooms at Casa Berti.

Looking through old photos and sifting through memories are perfect ways to reflect and refresh.  I have a few notes that I jotted down during the trip that I wish I had paired with photos. When we stayed in a villa, Casa Berti, on the outskirts of Lucca, our dinners were made by a tiny woman named Jana, who lived next door with her family. She would deliver platters of food so huge that she had to walk sideways through the kitchen door. How I wish I had pictures of those meals!

 I vaguely recall posing for another 'out the window' picture (above). Were we looking out of the rooms that we actually slept in when this photo was taken, or did we spontaneously run indoors to pose out from these four windows?   Now, 15 years later, I'm left to rely on  memories that disappear with a shake of my etch-a-sketch brain.

 I've never been attracted to scrapbooking but I am able to appreciate the idea of curating photos.  I'm thinking now, of making books with the photos that I'm accumulating and adding some lines from my daily words in order to create better memories for the days ahead. I'll thank myself, later.

Everybody needs his memories. They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door.
— Saul Bellow