the Pull of Place

While I love getting away, seeing new sights, meeting new people, I am firmly anchored at home. Home is where my heart is. Home is where I center and rejuvenate myself.

Since my ex and I separated six years ago, my home has been a 3,000 square foot house on a one-third acre lot framed by trees and nestled into a gentle slope overlooking a lake. In feng shui, this fortuitous placement is called “the belly of the dragon.”

Even though I’m just a couple of miles from downtown, and pretty close to my neighbors, it’s quiet and private. Out of every window I see something lovely.

This is the most wonderful home I’ve ever had – and people who visit are immediately enchanted by it as well. Not because it’s grand – because it is anything but (built from a plan-book in 1972). But it’s cozy, colorful and quirky.

So why did a single woman of modest means buy a house this big?

Three reasons: it was cheap (needed a lot of work), the setting was fabulous, and it was the only house I could find within my budget that had a dining room big enough for my grandmother’s dining table, and a living room large enough for my mother’s Steinway baby grand (which I’m keeping for my still-peripatetic son, 24).

The fourth reason: ohmigod the yard! All the previous owners were skillful gardeners who left behind shrubs, native plants, sheets of color from spring bulbs, rock walls, five prolific blueberry bushes, a grape arbor and an asparagus bed! A chestnut tree on the southwest corner to keep the house cool in the summer, and a couple of towering black walnut trees in my neighbor’s yard that framed my view to the northwest.

I refinanced and plowed a lot of money into remodeling. And more into simplifying the yard. If the economy and housing market hadn’t plunged, the investment might have been wise. But now the moths in my purse are looking hungry.

Walking around the yard this spring, I’m seeing not just beauty but bondage. The yard work is unending. And it’s more work than a single woman of my age wants to do.

I need to make some serious changes. My options as I see it: find a new mate (someone who loves to garden or has enough money to pay a gardener); write a best-seller and become rich enough myself to afford the gardener or; down-size.

At the moment the first two options are in the realm of fiction. That leaves me with down-sizing.

It’s so easy to be blithe about down-sizing when it’s my feng shui clients’ stuff. But the shoe is now on MY foot and it hurts. Yesterday I sat in the yard and wept just thinking about letting go of this place.

It took me months to find my home – and now I’ll be fighting the growing horde of down-sizers who are also seeking a smaller, charming home within walking distance to shops and public transportation.

I hope I can maintain some shred of equanimity during this process. For sure I’ll be a better consultant after I’ve done it myself.

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