Monday, March 17, 2014

Word of the Week - 2

Word of the week:  HABITAT

The magic of place.  Their, ours.
Photo from the book ELEPHANT HOUSE or, the Home of Edward Gorey.
A postcard from Cuba of Hemingway's desk.  Assorted views of Edward Gorey's home on Cape Cod, the not-quite teetering stacks of books, the objects.  Stuffed toys in The Alcove.  One's natural environment.   Our part-Airedale, Heidi, dug herself a cool, snug nest beneath the oleanders and wallowed until she could raise a cloud of dirt in a snowstorm.  Then she'd come inside, eat whatever meal my mother had fixed for herself and lie on her bed, hogging the pillow.  In the Heidi museum, all aspects of her personality would be recreated by her habitat.

We are comforted by whatever holds us in place.  In a favorite movie, LAURA, Clifton Webb's character says without Laura, he would run amok.  So would we all, minus piles, bed covers, trinkets, talismans, the arrangement of pens in a specific box, the exact notebook within arm's reach.  I am happy to know there is a ruler or, in a pinch, a tape measure in almost every room.  You never know when the size of an A7 envelope will be the most important thing on the agenda.  There are scissors in every room that I frequent.  There is southern light, a luxury we missed for too long, and a view of tree tops and sky.  Drawers of paper, ribbons, clear boxes of rubber stamps.  My newest favorite thing is the "down alternative" comforter I began using in December.  There was too much piled on the bed to enjoy it before that.  I am not sure how other people, allegedly grown-ups as I may be, create a space that approximates Heidi's trench.  I know the books standing and piled to my left beneath the window have a heartbeat.  They give off warmth, pulse and speak.  In moments of depletion they seem to rally round.  Whether I consult them or not, I know they offer wisdom, perspective, safety, an identifiable version of sanity.  They are part of my blanket fort, the quilt draped over the card table on a rainy day, pillows encased in cotton washed a million times, softened and faint of hue, familiar and dependable as a grandmother's hug.  This is home.


Erin in Morro Bay said...

Yes, to be surrounded by the things that make our habitat a home. And how fascinating to find the way they differ and the way they are the same among those we know.

Claire Beynon said...

Dear Marylinn -'they are part of my blanket fort, the quilt draped over the card table on a rainy day, pillows encased in cotton washed a million times, softened and faint of hue, familiar and dependable as a grandmother's hug.'

Thank you. I feel I've just been on the receiving end of one of these hugs. Much love to you and gratitude for your words, your warm-hearted, soft-eyed view on our sometimes hard-edged world xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Erin - When I began thinking of what makes a house home for me, I became, I think, a bit more accepting of my tendency toward disarray for there IS comfort in certain stacks and piles. Looking at Edward Gorey's Elephant House showed me at least a bit of a kindred spirit. And yes, it is fascinating what precise elements we require that may not appear on any other list, among all the essentials we share. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Claire - Thank you. I took your comment about the soft-eyed view and the hard-edged world very much to heart and felt it told a significant piece of my story, my way of being here. I do know I need to feel the hugs and heartbeats on a reliable, continual basis, not just a pat on the head from time to time. We need to be enfolded in all the love and comfort and safety we can find, need and deserve, to share that with each other in all the ways we can. Here is another hug. Again, love back and thank you. xo

Kass said...

"We are comforted by whatever holds us in place."

Do you remember the part in "Out of Africa" when Isak Dineson's (Karen Blixon's) trunk arrives in Kenya? She is so comforted by her "stuff." I had felt guilty about valuing my possession's until that point.

"Enfolded in love." Again, your writing....what can I say? I feel enfolded in love and understanding as I read.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Kass - I'd forgotten the part where her trunk arrives. I am always stopped at the opening line, the part where she speaks of Denys, "He was not mine, he was not ours," the part where they take turns telling the story, etc. I'm glad it freed you from feeling guilty about valuing your stuff. I have left way too many things behind, either of necessity or just unknowingness. I would do it very differently today, or so I believe. Love is the poultice we apply externally whose healing properties seep in. Thank you. I am coming to understand my purpose in being here. That's quite a piece of information. xo

Kass said...

"Love is the poultice we apply externally whose healing properties seep in."

Do you write poetry? Are you published (other than online)?

Marylinn Kelly said...

Kass - I admire, love, poets and poetry and know that I am not a writer of poetry. If pieces find their way into my prose which trade upon poetic language, I feel most fortunate. And other than a few children's books written as a sub-contractor in the 70s and 80s, this is where I am published. As one of the participants in a book on mixed media journal exchanges called TRUE COLORS, I had a chance to write a bit about my color choice, what it represented for me. Since then, I've contributed to a blog from time to time by artist/author Seth Apter about the enormous TRUE COLORS experience. My blog is where is get to practice and grow. I am so giddily grateful to be here in a time when one can have a blog, a place to unspool thoughts and stories and find people willing to step up and share the experience. Your comments, your presence, are treasured gifts. Thank you. xo