On the Magic of Nooks

On the Magic of Nooks

NOOK, n. A corner or recess, offering seclusion and security:

As a child, I looked for nooks. (Not to be confused with the cranny, a small, narrow space.) Nooks were often the overlooked spaces in our family homes where you wouldn’t necessarily find a full sized adult spending their time. I think adults gravitate towards grander spaces, to hold grander things, objects, personalities, etc.

Ah, but a NOOK. A nook was often perfectly overlooked, seeming to await the exact right person to come along and connect with all the magic of potential that lie therein.

I was an avid reader at a very young age. My mother said I shocked the world when I toddled out into a grownup’s late night party at the unripe age of hardly three years old and held up a book, beginning to read its pages aloud. Tall tale? Who knows; but my earliest memories are held in the little nooks in which I took respite and curled up with a book. Or a small handcraft project like a sketchbook or a cross stitch sampler. Or wearing my grandmother’s Gunne Saxx dress with opera gloves and a tube of lipstick. Or sketching out the garden of my dreams after watching the beloved 1990s The Secret Garden. (Or even with my “pet lizards,” which were really rainbow colored jelly fishing lures— the closest I came to a pet in a house full of not fun/allergic grownups!)

THE NOOK. The place where the body is cozy and the imaginations run wild.

So in my adult life, I still find myself looking for the nook, situating myself in a cozy corner that affords a view of the world around me. To sit in the right chair and to gaze out the window— it breeds big ideas and delightful sensations. I find the nooks everywhere I go, and it’s the area of homes that I am most impressed when seeing someone giving the attention to that magical space.

One should never overlook the potential magic waiting in the nook.

In our current home, which was built in 1948, I have a breakfast room that is the perfect nook. I spend most of my quiet alone time in this space. It has three doorways that afford me a view of the spaces beyond and a large window on the fourth wall that overlooks a bird feeder and my whole garden. The dancing morning light falls through this window and shimmers across the special plants I keep in this room: a pothos hanging from the ceiling in an antique brass bucket, an orchid that continues to delight me with blooms- a loving gift from a dear friend after my mother died, ferns and little objects and a bleeding heart that teaches me so much about EVERYTHING. (Rolling eye emoji and teary eyes, IYKYK).

I have baskets hung from the ceiling in this room, many I’ve collected over the years from estate sales and thrift stores. But there are also some here that are true treasures in my life. The far left: my grandmother’s sewing basket. The dark brown: my mother’s picnic basket from my childhood.

Here I keep my cookbooks, my gardening and herbal books, my hand tools and candles and such inside this old built in with that old scalloped trim (that is kind of delightful).

This is a LIVED IN space, as evidenced by the hallway of sports equipment in a GIANT brass pot and stacks of barn coats, LL Bean bags and a Stan Smith signed tennis ball we had to put up on the top shelf so our son wouldn’t take it to school for “Wall Ball.”

This framed photograph lives in this nook— an Edwardian era lady with her hair down, a day dress on, playing music and smiling with such honesty and openness. This was unusual for this period. She stands in front of a fence line, overgrowing with flowers. She cannot be contained.

I bought this during the height of the pandemic. I went to Hanna Antiques, one of my only excursions in MONTHS. The vast antique shop, filled with its own nooks (and crannies), was a place where I could go explore and find that sense of solitude in a way that felt safe at that really uncertain time.

I spend a good amount of time looking at this woman and wondering who she was, what this moment captured, and feeling like we are aligned in some cosmic way.

I like sharing my nook with her.

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