I am sitting on a front porch 1000 miles from home, listening to the birds (and writing, obviously). This is a neighborhood where people much like me sleep and wake, go to work, come home and work in the yard and cook and walk their dogs and play with their kids. But tonight I feel like I am in the lap of luxury, sitting on a cushioned wooden swing on an ordinary suburban front porch, occasionally hearing the buzz of a hummingbird amidst the chorus of songbirds. The owner has made a beautiful guest space and clearly loves to garden. I enjoy all of this as a guest. But if I lived here, it wouldn’t feel as much like vacation, unless I reminded myself every day that it is a place worthy of vacation. Indeed, it is; the vegetation is lush, the views alternate between mountains, lakes, and valleys.
It’s not that different from where I live, except for the mountains. On the commute to my former job, I passed three spectacular views each day: a lake, where I could see sunrise for part of the year, a river crossing with a view of a distant city skyline, and an immense wetland dotted with waterfowl. Each view calmed my brain and reminded me to appreciate the little things.
That is part of my “home as cabin” mindset: recognizing the beauty all around me.
One big difference between being on vacation and being at home is all the chores. The guest suite was free of lawnmowing, vacuuming, and various other chores and obligations. Although I rarely dust or iron, I can’t eliminate all chores at home. I can, however, change how I think about them. Weeding, dishwashing, cutting vegetables, and even vacuuming can be very meditative. Our house is a more pleasant place to be when it is relatively uncluttered and clean (and I do mean “relatively.” It would never be mistaken for a museum.).
We take care of our home, and, in turn, it nurtures us.