Thursday, April 26, 2007

Homes and Happiness

If by accident you fall in love with a place or a view, an atmosphere and you think seriously of moving around your perfectly sheltered life to pursue this vision, then ask yourself what the new place represents for you. Our homes tend to reflect our personalities, even our values. I live in two totally different environments, the Arizona drought-ridden desert and a European bustling city… Each place represents part of me. So when I fall hard and consider a change from the not so leafy suburb to the modernity of an older high-rise flat with a view, ten minutes away from the theater, the big Saturday and Sunday market, then I need to ask myself Whom is it I am trying to become? And also will the place help me do that, will the place remind me of what it is I want to strive for and will the windswept corner with morning sun and view of the sunset shelter me, will my vision of possible happiness sustain itself? I have learned with my late husband that it is not about ‘happiness as a state’ but at the possibility of everything falling into place once in while and the rare moments of pure perfection. It is all about beauty, creativity and the promise of possible happiness. Leaving behind the old house, the physical prompting of memories, of habits, drama’s and joys would stop. I see the new place as sparsely furnished, light, room for guests, books and Tony’s paintings. I guess I am longing for an uncluttered life, having sorted it all out by moving and leaving behind what is superfluous, being connected through the view to the jumbled chaos of the houses I can overview from there and the grander story of culture and politics that is told by panorama of the city. Would the change express that I have confidence in the future now that I am contemplating my different paths and possible and desirable futures, letting go of pains of past? Tony’s paintings would remind me of vibrancy and creativity, of balance and honesty, beauty or at least the striving for those ideas we shared. Yet the space would be totally defined by its place in the weft and warp of the city, the myths and invisible writing and rhythms of it and my writing, translations I hope to bring forth: a balance between discipline and temptation, the community of Jazz lovers on Sunday afternoons, urbanites walking their dogs versus the concrete tower that would be my nest far from the maddening crowd… yet being part of a condominium where the individual might easily be crushed by the community. Inviting friends over would be like inviting them to a skyline restaurant, a quiet backdrop of clouds, twinkling citylights.
The building expressed a belief in progress, betterment of humanity, democracy, (one of the mayors of the city lived in it, amongst a happy few fellow citizens) equality, individuality and a sense of worldliness. Now 43 years old it has gathered a patina of imperfection that is endearing, that has softened its attitude. The grime of the city has stained the façade, yet I would be literally ‘above’ the dust, reminded of how things, people can be dignified by aging. Although looking like a squat, gentle giant, the age upon it also reminds us that all is ephemeral… All is vanity. Maybe the transient in me identifies with the reconciliation symbolized in a home, a stronghold cradled near the clouds in the impermanence of the eternal cycle of day and night.

1 comment:

  1. Every place we have lived has been home. We know that wanting what you have is a lot more important than getting what you want. We also know that after losing a house to a tornado and having everyone live through having the house crash down on us nothing is more important than the people. The rest is just stuff. I hope that you continue to find love and happiness. Also remember that you will find true happiness from within. You will never find it in external things and people unless you have it inside first. MUD