We've lived here for 18 years, longer than we've lived in any other home. Before we arrived here, we'd moved 22 times. We're still refining our home, still settling in and allowing ourselves the luxury of changing things to suit our age and idea of ourselves. I still think of my home now as 'the new place". I guess I feel that because so many things changed when we moved. We developed a new way of living here and changed ourselves right down to the core in the process.
When we moved in we spent a couple of thousand dollars on the garden, we bought new furniture, added a bedroom and a new kitchen. We were supposedly putting "our stamp" on our home. Funny, no matter how much we spent, it never felt like much in those early years. My life was caught up in work, I didn't think about home; it was part of my life but it wasn't part of me. Of all the surprises that came my way in the past 18 years, knowing the relationship I have with my home now is one of the biggest. I feel that the house and land are a part of me now, part of my family and part of my history. I have no doubt that on the last day I'm alive, I'll be here, enjoying the birds, the aroma of the pine forest and the splendid feeling of warm, comfortable isolation I feel every day I live here.
We eventually put "our stamp" on our home but it wasn't by buying furniture or an instant garden. It was by living our ordinary days here. By doing house work and weeding and collecting eggs. The house knew much better than I did that buying things to feel at home is just temporary gloss. What it needed was time and love and years of bread baking in the oven and soup simmering on the stove. It needed the soft glow of candle light, the sound of newborn babies crying, the experience of hearing so much good news and some very sad news. I think all that living has been drawn into the fabric of the house now, even though it stands as a silent witness to what happens here.
Soon there will be the sound of another newborn baby's cry here, there'll be more out of tune renditions of "Happy Birthday", more garments produced with soft organic yarn, more Christmas trees being decorated, many more twinkling lights on humid summer evenings, more story books being read and maybe more books being written. And Hanno and I will live many more ordinary days here being totally fulfilled and made happy within the boundaries of our land.
A few years ago, I wrote that we should all bloom where we are planted and over the years since, many people have told me that they took that to heart. I think I wrote that with such passion because that is what we've done here. Our twenty-third move was our last because this home compelled us to slow down and just live. There was no other requirement, no need of fancy furniture and appliances. All it needed from us was to work within these walls, to take the time to notice and appreciate what is here and to add many more memories as the years slip by.