Making Space, Building Place

In my travels and the many places I have called home over the years — from Ghana to Cambridge, England — the lessons I learned from watching my mother make spaces has stayed with me in very real ways. Placemaking by naming and claiming space is an act of resistance. It calls forth my right of existence in a world where man and nature warped by man always seem to be in pursuit. This time of sheltering in place during this current pandemic is no different. For me, someone who is often on the road, staying put becomes critically about building place.

One act of spacemaking I have fully leaned into is where I work during this time. That for me is the reading nook in the house that I live in. A hard bench that the homeowner created warmth in by putting a plush fox-designed cushion over and some large, back-supporting pillows. It is nestled against a large window that lets in an abundant of sunshine in the sleepy mornings. When I settle into the corner in the morning, I turn my face toward that light and bask in the rays of the sun, gathering energy to start a fresh day. In our current lockdown, that sunshine starts my day with hope too — hope that with each passing day of physical distance, we’re getting closer to scenarios where more lives are saved and we aren’t overwhelmed by all of this.

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I stretch my legs out on the pillow, lean back against the plump comfort of designer pillows, and cover my legs with a pink, fluffy blanket from home. It’s an Easter blanket, but I convinced myself that because it’s just bunnies and flowers it works for all year round. But Easter is also my favorite holiday — one that this year may be spent indoors, but with a reminder that the Resurrection is more than a story. It too is a promise — of life in the midst of death. Of rebirth into new ways of being.

And I make the table spaces next to me mine — dark chocolate because cravings don’t go away for quarantines, my little crystal glass that holds the right amount of whiskey and bourbon during virtual happy hours with friends and colleagues, and my laughably large Hello Kitty mug from my sister. She knows that a secret joy of mine is Hello Kitty things, and the sheer size of this mug makes sure that I can drink heaps of hot tea throughout the day until late into the evening when I’m drinking mainly hot water because I’ve steeped the tea too much. But this is about restraint not indulgence — at least not for everything. Not yet. There will be time.

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I watch the sunset and darkness shroud us from this corner kingdom. I slowly pull the blinds down and wind down my day. Another glass for evening virtual dates, a chapter or two of an engrossing book, and fingers flying across keyboarding to type again.

Make spaces, dear ones. Cultivate the corners where nothing can touch except the magic of your own making.

There will be time.

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