As I See It
It was crisis in the life of a friend which took me away. Because she needed me at this moment and I wanted to respond. I left home and other calls upon my attention which I had considered important either to me or to someone I cared about. Once on my way I realized that the going was also answering my own need for space – inner space and space in time
In familiar surroundings, it is difficult to look around without seeing something which needs to be done, which demands attention. Hence it is difficult to save for oneself, space in time, a time to “get it together”, to get perspective, to see what is important and what is just going through the motions, whether one’s expression of caring and affection is real or only what is expected or, in fact, a habit - like the absent minded “have a nice day” kiss in the morning, with your mind on something else. I suspect 50 percent of them are just that, partly because neither the kisser nor the kissee takes the time to feel anything more!
Then there is personal space - room to move about without apologizing for stepping on someone's toes or explaining where you were when you 10 minutes late or keeping someone waiting because you paused to enjoy a moment of your own. Or being so close to someone that you can't remember whether it was your idea or someone else's expectation of you. And then there is the possessiveness or control that people often confuse with caring or loving. A friend who was feeling a painful lack of space put it this way, “Sometimes I feel like a yo-yo on a string.”
Well as I left
But I had distance from it all,
and I had time with no immediate encroachment of telephone or people or odd
jobs to be done. I had space because I had been able to create it. But what
about the people sitting on dilapidated doorsteps or lounging on sidewalks in
I saw places, unimaginative, bleak, tawdry, neglected, seedy and dying. They generated in me a pervasive unease. Then there were open fields and wooded slopes, lanes of trees closing in on the tracks, and little towns alight with garden spots and happy looking homes each with its own age and character showing. These people, I perceived, did not just have space they were using it, and it was nurturing them.
makes the difference? To quote the King (of
The sun was casting the warm
golden light of a late June afternoon sun across the landscape and setting the
sides of buildings aglow when I stepped off the train in
I pushed open the door at the top of the stairs and caught my breath. I dropped my luggage and looked around. Soft buff tones of plaster and paint blended into the delicately chiseled stone and marble. Every flower and tendril showed in the cornice and molding. The windows in their gently arched frames gleamed, the vaulted ceiling reflected the light of the great room, the battered old benches of the 19th century waiting room showed rich wood patterns which had been hidden by grime of a century, the brass and bronze of ticket windows glowed against marble. Small trees flourished in stone planters. There was no litter. The place breathed pride.
Here was space made beautiful by someone who saw it and cared.
Then I saw a carefully hand lettered
sign. “This renovation and improvement was made possible by generous
contributions of the Chamber of Commerce and the people of
There is a sequel. Where one
dowdy and reluctant ticket agent, barely visible in the dark, had in the past, doled
out information and a few tickets, two alert agents brisk and friendly were making the process pleasant. I had occasion to wait
about half an hour for my train back to
So! Our use of space
Can change the face
Of person and place