House hunting in London a lifetime ago. A move across the pond. An ex-pat adventure for our then young family. One cold, gray January day in the late 1990’s brought us from one property to the next. The city hummed uninterruptedly despite the constant rain. Our real estate agent Vanessa navigated the traffic while chatting with us like we were relaxing at a coffee shop and not in the thick of congested London traffic.
Police sirens seemed to roar more urgent. Dizzying frequent stops of double decker buses dotted the High Street. Black diesel cabs rumbled by. Regents Park. Kensington Gardens. Hampstead Heath. Tube stations. Postcard moments.
We pulled up to our Pembroke Square destination. The rod iron gate groaned as we gained entrance into the front garden. A short, paved walk passed a small bed of flowers to our right. A tall black door adorned with a brass door knocker shone to perfection.
A thick beige gently warn carpet lined the interior hallway. The 1800 floorboards creaked under foot. Deep yet bold yellow walls warmed our relocating spirits. In stocking feet, we quickly walked down the narrow stairway to the bottom level to a terracotta tiled floor. An unremarkable yellow pine table with two complimentary chairs was centered in the small rectangular kitchen. An open gas fireplace glowed warm in the adjacent family living space.
On the center of the table rested a bouquet of hyacinth in a simple glass vase. The room was wonderfully fragrant. Distinctive. The room was an oasis of warmth and charm. Home it would become. The influence of the hyacinth played no short role. The actual color of the flowers escapes me, but the feeling of being home has stayed with me always.
I just finished teaching the fourth session of a painting class in my adopted home of Vermont. The art center is just miles from my home. I have loved teaching this group of women. They are simply wonderful. Amazing in fact. Inspiring in so many ways. Our last class this past Monday felt festive. Ginger scones were baked and shared by one of the women. Another woman brought a pot of purple hyacinths as a thank you to me. Suddenly and unexpectedly, while worlds apart I was flooded with the same sense of being home…
“The light is what guides you home, the warmth is what keeps you there.” Ellie Rodriguez