Home, and the heart
I wrote recently about how my thoughts have changed on the dream that I had held to for most of my life until recently; a shorts-and-teeshirt-and — ultimately — adolescent vision of my distant future.
I saw a beach, somewhere, and sand, and sea, and the expanse of a holiday ocean, and all of those things that go hand-in-hand with that picture.
With a broad brush, I painted the outlines of what that dream now looks like, in grays and greens and the slopes of windswept cliffs. But I didn’t, then, touch on what I saw inside that moment, the place in which I might live, those rooms in which I might spend my waking days.
‘I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.’
- Jorge Luis Borges
I can picture the main room that I’d likely live in.
It’s a fairly small room, and the impression I have is that it’s slightly rounded in shape. For the size of the room, there’s a large open fire, in a high, arched mouth, and the walls are granite or a similar stone, bare, not dressed.
The windows are very few, and are thin, and arched, and high. The walls — in my admittedly-limited minds-eye view — are lined all round with shelves, and each shelf is entirely lined with books. The light there is in the room comes from the fire (obviously) and a couple of small, but tall, oil-styled electric lamps, seated on thin, wooden tables.
The floor is uncarpeted but thick with rugs over slatted wood, all for keeping the fire’s warmth in. The hearth is raised, but has nothing much on it that I can see.
The picture, for me, is vivid.
The part of the world, this land of dream, is unknown, but it’s in the grip of storms, often, and perhaps mostly. I feel that, if it’s an island, it is close to the mainland somewhere; or on the distant edge of a peninsula, maybe. I don’t get the sense that it’s in the southern hemisphere and so I think, for now, that it’s somewhere in, or off the coast of, Scotland’s north-east, where I grew up.
The coast is in sight from my window. The sense I have is of an old, compact, 2- or 3-storey granite building, on the rise of a small hill, with short cliffs nearby. My minds eye sees rain at the windows, and open seas beyond a smattering of trees. Wind, and often thunder, rolling in off the sea.
So, the scene is set.