My first period classroom is on the very edge of the school campus and at the very edge of a steep hill. It overlooks a homestead where I've dwelled all my life. It is the quaint haven where my mind has gone in every moment of stress and sadness. There, in my peace place, a cluster of white prayer flags remember a good man who died too young and cast gentle shadows on a road lined with stone.
The house itself is just beyond the wall. The eclectic materials from which it's constructed make it seem almost tentative, temporary, and incomplete, but at the same time it is comfortable in itself, and wisely old. You know before you see them that the tenants will hobble along with bent backs, and smile with deep creases. Everything is as I dreamt it: the wood pile, the vegetable plots, the pink blossom Truffula trees, and occasional cats.
Yeats understood the appeal. "I will arise and go now, / And go to Innisfree, / And a small cabin build there, / Of clay and wattles made; / Nine bean rows will I have there, / A hive for the honey bee, / And I'll live alone in that bee loud glade. / And I shall have some peace there /..."
Only poetry has the words for it, my stone-walled hovel where a river spills and twists and gurgles. Yeats, but Wordsworth, too: "These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs / With a soft inland murmur.[...] These plots of cottage-ground, these orchard-tufts [...] These beauteous forms, / Through a long absence, have not been to me / As is a landscape to a blind man's eye: / But oft, in lonely rooms, and 'mid the din / Of towns and cities, I have owed to them, / In hours of weariness, sensations sweet..."