The house shelters
“If I were asked to name the chief benefit of the house, I should say: the house shelters day-dreaming…the house allows one to dream in peace.” — Gaston Bachelard
I saw this quote from Bachelard on a Celestial Seasonings box of Sleepytime tea. I found it charming, and at first I agreed with it. Then I thought “Tell that to a busy mother…a house that allows one to dream in peace? Only if the kids are away at school!” Even if everyone is gone, our homes may continue to shout or nag at us, pointing out the paper piles, the dusty surfaces, the streaked windows.
But that doesn’t mean Bachelard is wrong about houses. The house can shelter daydreaming, if we allow it to do so. For some of us, this will mean putting the outward appearance to order with at least a bit of tidying up. For others of us, it will mean looking beyond the undone chores to see the beauty that always lies beneath, even if hidden.
And really, even the clutter can evoke reverie. The craft supplies and half-finished projects bring thoughts of anticipation at sharing our creativity with others. The dusty trinkets may bring back memories of an enchanting trip or a charming phase in a child’s life. Piles of old letters and photographs noiselessly sound the delightful din of loving voices that surround our hearts with joy.
Most all of us agree there’s no place like home. When singing the praises of our dwelling places, we typically cite the solace of familiarity, the comfort of one’s own bed or sofa, and the pleasant busyness of self-chosen, self-directed projects in process. But perhaps Bachelard, in his wonder-filled* wisdom, has seen something we may have missed. Maybe the sense of security that engulfs us when we return home is based, at least partly, on its being the haven for our daydreams; a safe cocoon where our hearts can bask in beautiful realities that are too fragile for the world outside.
Today, I hope you will take a few minutes to allow your home to be a sheltered place for daydreams.