For me, living in New York is a tricky balancing act. Daily, I must leave the cage of my apartment and venture out into the city. Then, I must get in, out of the city, back to my apartment nest. The cage/nest contradiction is a constant one. It goes with the urban terrain. The enchantment of New York is its big dreams. The reality of New York is its small living spaces.
—Julia Cameron, The Sound of Paper
I remembered Julia’s words last week, on a warm, sunny evening when all I wanted to do was stay home. I felt a wee bit guilty about this impulse – because, for a good chunk of the year here in New England, going outside in the evenings isn’t really an option.
In the winters – especially one as long and brutal as this past one – we long for the days of open windows, long walks and afternoons at the beach. By the time spring comes, we are restless, aching to get out and stretch our legs. And once summer comes, we embrace the warmer weather with reckless abandon.
I’ve spent at least a dozen evenings down on the Charles River lately, paddling in a kayak (from which I took the photo above) or walking along the Esplanade. I love a stroll through the Public Garden, and I adore an hour spent hanging out in Harvard Yard. Over the long 4th of July weekend, the hubs and I spent an afternoon at the beach, went to a Red Sox game, and threw the Frisbee on Boston Common with a friend.
But in the summer, as in all seasons, sometimes it feels good to come inside, back to the apartment that has been home base for nearly five years (!) now. With its twinkle lights, overflowing bookshelves, cozy living room and the dining table I’ve had since college, it is my nest, the place where I can relax.
The hubs and I love to explore Boston and take occasional jaunts elsewhere (like our recent one to Maine), but we also need time at home, to read and cook dinner, putter around and watch Modern Family, to sprawl barefoot in the living room and exhale.
Do you see the nest/cage contradiction in your own life? Especially if you live in a city, I’d be interested to hear your experiences.