In the days since publishing “What Makes a House a Home?” I’ve been fortunate to enjoy follow up exchanges with many of you. It seems that we all have some compelling notions of homeness! Thank you for reaching out and sharing your often personal stories. I’ve mentioned to several of you that I’d like to dive in a little deeper if/when you’re inclined. This inquiry is foundational to Rosslyn Redux, and I believe that the objective is less to answer the question and more to propagate more questions, to seed wonder and reflection.
There are so many little forays into this residential quest, that I’ve decided to follow up with three follow-ups posts that intrigue me and that have been percolating with renewed vigor since sharing the previous post. I’ll jumpstart the three with a preliminary introduction of sorts, maybe more of a welcome, today in seeding the three questions as one. Is home a place, a feeling, or a relationship? I’m hoping to intersperse more narrowly focused posts on each of the three questions with progress reports on the icehouse rehab (It was a big day today!) and the boathouse gangway. And I’m hoping to hear from you if you feel moved to share your thoughts on any of the three. I suspect that many of us consider all three to be connected in some way to our ideas of home. More one than another?
Is Home a Place?
Obviously Rosslyn is very much a place. It’s an historic property in Essex, New York, on the Adirondack Coast of Lake Champlain. Pretty specific, right. Place, place, place. And to be sure much of what I showcase in these posts is a reflection on place, even the poetics of place.
Two weeks ago I shared a tickler for this post on Instagram, a short reel offering an aerial view of Rosslyn that I filmed with my drone last summer. It feels meditative to me. Like a soaring seagull wondering, wandering…
I think for now, I’ll leave the question of home as place gently gyring in the updraft to be picked up again soon in another post.
Is Home a Relationship?
In the digital sketch / watercolor at the top of this post, the almost abstract blue green wash hopefully feels a little bit like a dream. Maybe a memory. Something fuzzy and abstract in my memory. It’s a barn, actually a barn quite near Rosslyn in the hamlet of Boquet. But it’s not necessarily that barn I’m depicting. It’s many barns including the barns at Rosslyn (carriage barn and icehouse) the barns at The Farm where I spent a few formative early years, and the barn(s) that I hope to one day, same day build or rebuild. In short, for reasons I’m still unraveling, homeness for me includes a feeling of an old, perhaps even an abandoned farm, with barns. More at that anon.
Is Home a Feeling?
Sticking with digital sketches / watercolors for a moment, that black and white image above was actually made a few years ago to represent Griffin, our Labrador Retriever before Carley. But like the barn, my rudimentary skills at representation allow it to merge into all of our dogs including Tasha, who we had before Griffin, and even Griffin-the-1st, a long ago predecessor and the namesake for our more recent Griffin. That’s a bit jumbled, but it’ll do for now.
Why dogness as a way to explore homeness? Well, frankly, for me, part of the feeling of home is that it’s where my dog is. And when we’re migratory between the Adirondacks and the Southwest seasonally, our dog is with us, maintaining a sense of home even though we’re temporarily nomadic. More on that now soon.
Is Home a Point of Overlap Place, Relationship, and Feeling?
I’ll leave you with this follow-on because I find that it’s surprisingly challenging to tease apart the elements of homeness. Intrinsic to all three, is my beautiful bride, Susan. She is my home in a way that embodies place, relationship, and feeling. What about you?