It was a rough winter. Normally, I don’t mind cold weather. I much prefer wearing sweaters and coats to shorts and T-shirts, but at this point, I am just plain sick of long sleeves and fleece.
This winter, with its snow and low temps and days off school, seemed to go on forever. (Note the leap of faith in using past tense here.) And my annual sickness, a nasty cold that spanned February and March, made it feel even longer.
But something interesting happened this winter. While being penned in by cold weather and pinned to the couch by germs, I became really, really grateful for our home.
Out running errands, I’d pick up groceries and then become suddenly homesick. I’d drive straight home, put on my fleece pants and fuzzy socks and plant myself on the couch. The dry cleaning (or whatever) could wait. Home was my haven.
I have always appreciated our home. Yet in the past, I thought of home more as our default place, the place we are when we’re not out. This winter, however, home was the place I most wanted to be.
An upside of being a homebody is having plenty of time to read, and one book in particular fit perfectly the feeling of home-as-haven: Christie Purifoy’s Placemaker.
In short, her book is about home – being at home wherever you may be and making yourself at home by cultivating beauty in your spaces. She writes, “What is placemaking? It is deliberately sending your roots deep into a place, like a tree. It means allowing yourself to be nourished by a place even as you shape it for the better.”
The book is not a hospitality guide, but being hospitable is part of being a placemaker. Nor is the book a home decorating guide, although curating spaces that evoke peace and comfort is part of placemaking. It is memoir-ish, but its narrative arc moves through places rather than life events. Christie is a gardener and lover of trees, and the landmarks of her life – in the various places she has lived – are uniquely botanical.
Christie’s writing is lyrical and gentle, with a way of deftly pointing out things in the world worth noticing. I especially loved her musings on an oak tree: “Each acorn is a wish for more, a dream of a tree, and a desire for enduring legacy.” Reading that sentence, I thought Well said! That’s why I love acorns.
Now that the weather has started to turn, will I remain a homebody? Probably not. I’d go for a bike ride right now if it was warmer outside.
I always love finding a book that speaks to my life at the moment – the right book at the right time. Christie’s book came at the height of a season when I felt the sheer comfort of making home a comforting place for me and my family – not just a landing spot between flitting here and there, but a soft place to land.
Full disclosure: I’m a member of Christie’s book launch team. Still, I would recommend Placemaker even if I weren’t, and I do not benefit from making this recommendation.