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Wednesday, January 19, 2005

 

Space

There is a fire in the fireplace. The flames are like long tendrils, flickering and racing up the chimney. The fire sounds like oil sizzling in a hot pan. It is pitch black outside the windows of our cabin - only a moment ago I could see pine trees and snow and a patch of mountain in the distance.

I was reading an article earlier by a woman who said she liked to travel constantly, since new places were always fresh and therefore inspired her to pay attention. Her yoga teacher encouraged her to pretend she was on vacation in her everyday life, and suddenly the details of her immediate environment began to nourish her as though she were in some exotic new locale. I understand the value of that mentality, but I'm not sure I accept that every place rewards your attention in the same way. The author lives in Boulder, Colorado with a view of the mountains from her house; from my apartment, I see another apartment building, and the rush of traffic and car alarms provide a steady stream of background noise. That's not to say there isn't beauty in D.C., or that the quality of my daily life isn't elevated by noticing the details (trees losing their leaves, the way the view of the National Cathedral from our dog park changes with the seasons and the weather), but there are few spaces in D.C. that truly inspire me.

That's what it comes down to - the importance of spaces that inspire. Spaces of harmony where you feel the external matches what your internal craves, where you can hear your voice and feel it growing stronger. Maybe that's why I love to travel - out of a hope that each trip will show me a glimpse of the space I crave, and of the world I want.



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