12.10.13 We arrived home from California just as the big snow began. We missed the -12 arctic days, but inside it was so cold after all those days with the heat turned down. By early bedtime, all was well in the house and the flannel covered feather bed was a welcome refuge after a long day of travel and our time away from home. Thirteen or fourteen years ago, when we began fiddling around with a design for our house, before meeting with the architect, I always focused on the exterior. I wanted a story-and-a-half bungalow look with a shed dormer and diamond-paned windows upstairs, and a long wall of French doors inside a broad porch, and I wanted it to be shingled in U.S. Forest Service dark brown, with a touch of red trim, and sit on a foundation of sturdy rock. Most of all, I wanted it to be covered by a sheltering roof–the kind you always drew as a kid with a sharp peak. You never see a kindergartener draw a house with a flat roof. There’s something fundamental in having a roof which cradles around the house, protecting the occupants therein.
Another thing I used to think about in designing the house, was a line from Wallace Stegner’s book, Angle of Repose, in which he talks about his character searching for “exposure then sanctuary.” I keep meaning to read that lovely book again and identify who she was and what she meant. For me, it’s the balance between how the house is exposed to the elements–the wind and rain, heat and snow–and the refuge inside of sanctuary from the weather. Like Stegner’s character, I feel there is something so exquisite in having adventures out there, braving the storms, then coming inside to the warmth and sanctuary of home. Neither would be as good without the other. They are both necessary elements in making for a rich life. Sometimes I have to push myself out for adventure–and there are plenty of unwelcome storms in life–but they make the shelter of home sweet and safe.