Sanctuary

We have a room in our home right in front that looks out onto the street. I always imagined having a room like this in our house. Isn’t it interesting that whenever we imagine a house, we place a window in the front without any prompting? There’s a roof, there are walls, there’s the front door, and what tends to be right next to that, a window. That window, in our mind’s eye, is our imagination’s way of potentially giving life to the house. Is there movement? Are the lights on? Is there a puppy sitting in the window? Something about that window makes the room so full of wonder, potential, and possibilities. 

We have that room in our home. I’m sitting it in right now. Beside that window. My husband and I created my own little sanctuary in this room. I adore it here. It’s warm, it’s safe. This creative cove has a golden, glowy aura, which isn’t surprising considering almost everything in it is either deep yellow or gold. I may or may not have a favorite color. This golden treasure chest of a room is my little nest for writing, reading, video chatting with loved ones from far away, having deep conversations, dreaming of the future, and centering myself. This is a room of sunshine for the cloudiest of days. Quite a bit of construction was required, so my husband was kind enough to help me bring this room to life. I have my small writer’s desk, my dream bookshelf filled with our favorite stories and those of our loved ones gifted to us at our wedding, a yellow bench right below the window for my dog to sit on and watch neighbors go by, and a readers nook couch that could lay flat for those sacred day naps. Like I said, SANCTUARY. I’m sure Charlie, my window-watching dog, would agree. He’s here with me now too, looming out the window in between his own day naps. 

When I look at our home from the outside and see my sanctuary’s window, I feel aglow thinking about what I’ve created inside of it, with all its wonder, potential, and possibilities. But I don’t often consider the view from the inside looking out. I, unlike Charlie, don’t often look out that window. There’s not really much to see aside from our street, the neighbor’s homes, and our lawn. Actually, I may not look out much because of our lawn. My husband and I don’t really take care of our lawn, or what’s left of it. It’s honestly not even that big, but we aren’t people who you would say have “green thumbs”. The only living plants I have are from my mother, who unfortunately did not pass down her natural green thumb gene. When that short-lasting California rain comes, our lawn takes on some shades of healthier grass, but on all other days, it dawns a splotchy straw color. I suppose one could call it in-tune with the weather and nature. Au Naturale. I suppose. Drought friendly. I suppose. 

Occasionally my husband will clip the taller stems of grass to make the lawn look more even. With this, there’s at least some sign of a caretaker based on the minimally attended lawn. The taller grass that my husband cuts ends up being scattered flat onto the grass, eventually dying and drying, and creating lain straw across the lawn to compliment those splotches. Sometimes I get frustrated with the view from my front room sanctuary being a semi-straw semi-field. We have our plans for it in the long run, like putting lower maintenance rocks out there, but in the meantime, it’s just something we try to look past and keep nice enough that we don’t become the eyesore of the street. 

Today, as I sat in my sanctuary to update my planner and set intentions for my week, Charlie was lying on the bench by my side, his usual morning spot. I noticed Charlie’s ears perking up at a consistent interval, about every couple of minutes. Considering my little guy is a cotton ball of a bichon-chihuahua with a real Napoleon complex, it isn’t new that he watches very closely for anything or anyone passing by. But every couple of minutes consistently? Either there’s a parade going by or there’s been a change in the Matrix. Ready to either get my dog checked for hallucinations or be his backup in case someone keeps stepping too close to our home, I decided to look out the window and do some investigating myself. Nothing. I sat back at my desk. Two minutes pass. Like clockwork, his ears perk and he’s sitting up. I refuse to admit both Charlie and I are crazy (at least, for this reason) so I spring to the window to look out, trying to match my gaze to the exact spot my ferocious bodyguard is looking. 

All I see is our unfortunate lawn, nothing new. But then suddenly, something new. I see him. An unexpected recurring visitor- a pigeon walking around and around on our splotches of straw. Charlie’s head adorably adjusted to follow wherever this pigeon was going. I wondered if he was hurt or if there were particular bugs or something in our lawn he thought ideal to eat. The pigeon just kept walking around and picking at things when finally, he took off. But he didn’t fly away empty-beaked. At that moment, I saw what he came for and left with- one of the lain pieces of dried-up straw. He flew away onto the roof of another neighbor, still in possession of this suddenly valuable and wanted straw, walked across the shingles, and tucked himself hidden into one of the corners out of my sight. A couple minutes later, with Charlie waiting anxiously, the pigeon walked back out of that corner on the roof and flew back over to our dried-up lawn, which apparently has become his own treasure trove. He searched around, picked up a few different pieces of dried straw one by one, shook them to test their sturdiness, then would choose one and fly it back over to the neighbor’s roof. My heart started to swell realizing this focus and dedication could only be one thing- Mr. Pigeon is building a nest. 

This little visitor of a pigeon kept coming to our lawn to choose a brick that he would lay down to build his own home where a soon-to-be mommy pigeon would be laying her eggs. He would test each piece of dried-out straw without fail, then fly it away, giving it a new purpose and meaning – shelter for his new family. A sanctuary of their own, warm and safe. I called in my husband to show him that not only did he assist in creating the parts for my sanctuary, but he also gave the pigeon his too. 

So there I sat, with Charlie on his bench, in our own golden sanctuary, watching this bird collecting his gold straw treasures and building his own. From our sanctuary to theirs. 

It isn’t the room, it’s the sanctuary within it. 

It isn’t the sanctuary, it’s those you share it with. 

JMPS

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