Coming Home

As much as I enjoy travel, nothing quite feels as comforting as coming back home. Refreshed from time spent away from the usual routines and inspired by all the new experiences and encounters, there’s an eagerness to settle back down and reboot life anew. Not a new life but the same one infused with new energy and ideas. It feels exciting and rich with possibilities.

In the familiar confines of home, surrounded by all the things that provide joy and/or motivation, I sit with a head full of thoughts and schemes. I look at innumerable photos and a slew of cryptic notes made hurriedly during my travels. Unlikely color combinations, creative products, newly discovered foods, ancient customs witnessed, styles and patterns of traditional clothing, architecture, music, gardens, home décor – everything is fodder for creativity. How to best implement what I’ve seen and learned in my garden, home, art and personal life is a thrilling challenge. As my eyes wander around home and garden, I see the results of what past travels have inspired. To others the connections may not be clearly apparent but its all there. Just with my own twist or interpretation.

Key features in my garden such as the espaliered fence of fruit trees, the lush vertical garden, the pergola with native wisteria sprawled over it are obvious examples but adapted to suit the location and climate. The checkerboard garden came from seeing a huge chess board installed in a garden in France – not directly related. The design of the walkway was inspired by a pattern of piping in a blouse worn by a woman selling fruit at a market in Sweden.

In recent years, the colors of the tulips that bring great cheer in the spring, are inspired by art works in various museums. The color choices have evolved over the years. No doubt they will continue to do so.

It is similar in the house. Colors, furnishings, meals and music stand testimony to how travel opens the mind and enriches lives.

My own art is influenced more subtly – I’m not always aware until much later how I’ve been influenced by the light, colors and styles of the landscapes seen.

Unlike how it is when I come home from a summer trip, a winter homecoming is a gift of time. No pressing garden chores await. While the garden is asleep, I have the luxury to take my time to think, plan, design, source, schedule, create.

I returned very early Tuesday morning just as the snow had begun falling. The drive home was slow as the roads were already icy. Now, with unpacking done, accumulated mail sorted, laundry completed, I’m at leisure to harvest what inspirations I’ve picked up from my trip.

As the garden lies coated in white, the bones are sharply visible – my imagination has free rein to think about new plants to introduce, edits to make, colors to experiment and, revel in a most spectacular garden that lives for the moment only in my mind.

Everything is possible.

I present my ‘blank canvas’ –

(c) 2024 Shobha Vanchiswar

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