Thursday, July 23, 2009

Owning My Space

(Click on the thumbnail for the bigger, better version)

About the photo: Night, once again, registering his fury at being left behind.

Where have I been and why so quiet? Well, the short answer is I have been working hard and so tired I couldn’t see straight, much less write a couple of somewhat coherent sentences. If you have read a few entries in my online journal, you know that we moved a little less than a year ago and you can definitely put us in the class of people who move into a new location in stages. In other words, unpacking priorities are determined by the demands of the moment. Essential kitchen utensils, basic clothing and bath requirements, as well as office equipment (that includes some of the many books) came first. Stage two included the items absolutely necessary for making this feel just a little more like a home rather than a roomy motel. For the last week, I have been deep into stage three—making this feel like our home. That has meant hours of digging into boxes filled with those various and sundry life-treasures one collects over the decades.

I admire people who relocate and within a month their house looks as though they had lived there for years, but I can’t identify with their speed and efficiency. I could offer age and reduced endurance as an excuse—not to mention three art shows in a row and SoFoBoMo— but that would be a bald-faced lie. It has always taken me time to get to know a house, come to terms with it’s quirks, and work out my relationship with it. A vastly different house from the one we lived in for twenty years and in a very different setting has meant a new version of our interior landscape.

Most of the work has been pretty close to sheer drudgery in physical terms (yesterday, I couldn’t name a part of my body that didn’t hurt), but the bright spot is hanging more of my prints because I have never had the pleasure of seeing this many of them on our walls. And, I am not finished. After I enjoy a brief breather from my unpacking and hanging marathon, I need to reprint and frame another piece that sold. Because that piece happens to be one of those we most want to display in our main living area, I get to print and frame it twice. Next on the agenda is digging into files for more images that will make this uniquely our space.

Thanks to hanging a number of prints, I have a greater sense of the value of printing and displaying my work. Certainly, seeing a sizable number of framed prints in shows and viewing them amongst guests is exciting, but displaying them in my environment in a semi-permanent arrangement is far more satisfying. I have a feeling that seeing more of my pictures on a daily basis and having the opportunity to develop an ongoing relationship with them is going to affect my photography. How? I’m not certain yet. That may take some time. But, that’s all right, along with another three or four more stages of moving in, I expect many more opportunities to refine my relationship with my cameras.


  1. Oh my, oh my, can I relate. One year and a few months into our new home, in a much more rural setting, I am now familiarizing myself with the land and nesting into the nest. Thinking more and more about how to take it from house to home, having now survived all four seasons here. Its comforting to hear someone goes through the same process. Change is not always easy, even when its a good change. Thanks for sharing, Anita. Mary Ann

  2. Mary Ann - You should have heard the sigh escape me when I read your comment. How nice to know that I am not the only one who moves slowly when it comes to moving house. Who knows? Perhaps there are hundreds, or thousands like us who have to first fully acquaint ourselves with our unfamiliar surroundings before the new house can be made into a home.

    Now when I am tempted to beat up on myself for making so little progress, I will remember that I am not alone. Thank you.

  3. I'm in the phase to relocate soon, but haven't come to conclusion yet (read: found a house that fits our wallet and our immediate needs). I have nevertheless started the journey and in my mind begin to take farewell from the garden we have now, and which I have spent so much time to create. I could immediately see and understand that you had a far more difficult relocation than I will ever have, reading your last year sofobomo book. It is understandable it takes time, some people just are like this. I'm one of them. Take your time, I'm sure that no one following you on your blog are expecting anything else.

  4. Ove - Leaving a garden is difficult. Will you be able to take cuttings, seeds, or even plants with you? We had to leave most everything behind, since we moved to a far different climate, but I certainly appreciate the few things we did bring.

    I confess that much of my struggle with the last move was probably related to age. I think many of us become less resilient when it comes to handling losses of any sort as the years roll by. I'm sure your family will have a grand adventure exploring new territory. Will you be moving far?

    Thanks for the vote of confidence on my pokey timetable. Periodically, I recognize that I am far more impatient with myself than anyone else is.

  5. No, I'm not moving far, if the right place and opportunity shows up. We will stay in the same town we live in today. I have already prepared cuttings, plants and even seeds, but you know they will be like babys and not grown-ups. It will take years to see them bloom for real again, not just bloom for the very first time... It's like starting a family all over again. :)

  6. Ove - We were fortunate to have some things in pots that we could move here. Of course, they have to live mostly in the garage during the winter, but they survived the first mountain winter, at least.

    Yes, your new garden will be filled with seedlings and mere hints of what you have been enjoying. A new family, as you said. It will be a sad day when you walk out that old garden gate for the last time.


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