I'm still reeling in this sense of seeing things anew. I don't know how other people feel when they travel, I can only assume the same thing happens to us all. It takes mental leaps and bounds for me. It seeps into my subconscious and changes my dreams. I feel unhinged from where I belong and inhale the new place I'm in and make it part of me.
So that when I return, I have to go through a process of dismantling and rebuilding. And sometimes that's difficult, when there are elements of a place I'm not ready to let go of. And in other ways, there's a high that comes from that, the idea that you can forge something new, that you can step into your home changed by all you've seen and felt.
On Saturday, I was weary from travel and felt not ready to come back. But I came inside and the calm of my home descended upon me and I appreciated deeply all I've done to build this for myself from scratch. And I felt at once that it's where I belong but also that it's such a lovely place to belong, that it's a lovely home. The light streamed onto my armchair and my lemon tree was blooming, filling the apartment with that gorgeous scent.
And we consciously do these things; place a chair here, buy plants, pile books on the coffee table. Yet it's rare we feel the full effect of these tiny gestures. But there's a quality to them that creates something beautiful; a little moment you would barely feel the need to remark upon in the everyday.
The National Museum of Ireland has installations of domestic settings through the ages. And, perhaps anticipating that these domestic details are too often overlooked, they stenciled this Thomas Moore quote on the wall: "The ordinary arts we practice every day at home are of more importance than their simplicity might suggest".
And the quote itself is ordinary and plainly true. But when I came home I felt its full force; the ordinary arts evident in my home and that sense of being in a place that makes me feel cared for and soothed. And I often think all this decor malarkey we go on about is obsessive and materialistic. But these ordinary arts are at the heart of it.