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In January, I came across a quote about enchantment that I love.
“I do not know how anyone can live without some small place of enchantment to turn to.” Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
I’ve looked at those words multiple times, since discovering them, waiting for the right moment to share them, to connect their truth to my story this year.
A couple of days ago, the opportunity presented itself.
Heimat: A Place of Belonging
Reading in a colleague’s blog a couple of days ago, I came across a word I did not know…heimat. German in origin, the word doesn’t have an exact English equivalent. However heimat conveys the idea of a “place towards which one has a sense of belonging and a deep rooted fondness”. It’s a place where one feels at home, for whatever reason. (Read Gabby’s post HERE.)
I felt charmed…enchanted actually…by this new found word. And suddenly, the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings quote popped into my mind. Ahhh. I connected this German word to her words and also understood the wistfulness I experience when reading her quote and researching the word heimat.
My soul is drawn to the idea of dwelling in a place that resonates with me, manifesting a deep sense of belonging and fondness. Like Marjorie, a small place of enchantment to turn to is vital for me.
I will never be too old for a bohemian tent in the garden.
Childhood Places of Enchantment
I’ve always searched for a small place of enchantment to turn to. As a child, those places existed outdoors primarily. The branches of a leafy tree, the landing atop a fire escape at the neighborhood church, the neighbor’s tiny fenced in area covered with honeysuckle vines, the big rounded bush in my backyard all offered spaces where I tucked myself away, for hours at a time.
Thinking about it now, I realize I roamed rather freely throughout my neighborhood as a child! Some might even call my actions trespassing. Yet no one ever ran me off. The neighbor’s fenced area became my Secret Garden. The church’s fire escape offered a grand view of the neighborhood while providing me solitude and a place to daydream.
When weather kept me indoors, I created blanket tents to crawl into, or simply sat with a book and a flashlight in my closet.
For me, enchantment equaled intimacy and solitude and nature.
As an adult, it still does.
Creating a small place of enchantment as an adult…my backyard garden.
Small Places of Enchantment as an Adult
I didn’t outgrow my desire to secret myself away.
As an adult my small places of enchantment are still found primarily outside. A rocky outcropping in the woods, a grassy bank near a gurgling brook and beautiful gardens all create in me that sense of heimat, of belonging.
I transformed my backyard into a personal paradise, with intimate spots to sit and reflect. In fact, inspired by the Secret Garden of my childhood, a corner of my garden is sectioned off, with clematis vines clinging to the repurposed metal panels. It’s a quiet space to meditate or read or enjoy a cup of tea while surrounded by peace and beauty.
Indoors my creative studio serves as a small place of enchantment. The walls and surfaces hold reminders of who I am and what I love. The six windows allow light to flood the space and also offer views of the backyard garden.
And Edinburgh, Scotland, an ancient sprawling city, inspires heimat in me as well, and ranks as one of my favorite places in all the world. The enchantment factor is high in Edinburgh, which helps to explain why the city draws me so, why I feel at home there.
Looking up toward Edinburgh Castle, past a picturesque church, in Edinburgh Scotland.
Clues to Creating a Small Place of Enchantment
Perhaps you’d like to create your own small place of enchantment, if you don’t have one already. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, author of The Yearling, captured the magic of her childhood by creating an enchanted farm in central Florida.
And therein lies the first clue to creating a small place of enchantment…childhood.
Where were you drawn to, as a child? Outdoors? Indoors? What locations became your favorite hangouts?
Did you prefer solitude, the company of a few friends, or partying with a crowd?
When outdoors, were you drawn to trees, water, mountains or desert? Did wide open spaces or secret places, hidden away, resonate with you?
Using the answers to these questions, think about where you live now. Are there spaces that you wander into, when you need time to think, or relax? What places inspire heimat and that deep sense of belonging?
Armed with this knowledge, consider how you can create an environment, within these enchanted spaces, that support you and inspire you. This is your special place. Let it be a reflection of who you are.
My favorite indoor space…my creative studio.
A Small Place of Enchantment
I realize my long held desire to create a garden sprang from a deeper longing to return to the magic of my childhood. Fondness and a sense of belonging and creativity, intimacy and beauty all combine in this space.
It’s why I have a tiny Secret Garden and why honeysuckle grows on a trellis near my front porch. My DIY bohemian tent on the brick patio provides a place to hide away for an evening, while offering the grown up pleasures of candles and tea time.
This small place of enchantment is a balm to my soul, easing weariness and quieting busyness, sparking creativity and inspiring courage. I need to fall under such a spell frequently. It’s here that I joyfully reconnect with who I am and what’s important in my life. It is here that I simply am.
My Secret Garden spot, with clematis instead of honeysuckle.
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