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Creating a Happy Place

Updated: Oct 16, 2023

My husband Jim and I live on 1.4 acres along the Chesapeake Bay surrounded by mature trees, which is one of the features of this place that drew me in. Growing up in Connecticut my family home was situated 2/10 of a mile from the road, deep in the woods. We had a long gravel driveway and no neighbors within sight of the house. As a child I spent long days outside with my sister exploring and creating our own play world beneath a thick cover of trees. "House" was a favorite game which involved finding a sheltered spot under a some branches where we would sweep the dirt smooth to clear a floor for our outdoor room. We would arrange rocks and branches around the room to fashion furniture and bring in a bucket of water and cups to make mud soup.

Our new house sits on a site that stood abandoned for many years. The old house was half demolished and the neglected yard was in bad shape, but we knew the moment we saw it that we could make a new home for ourselves here. Throughout design and construction we would come and sit in folding chairs below the large red oak tree in the back yard and observe nature and the bustling Chesapeake Bay as well. It was pleasurable to escape from Washington, D.C. and spend time just soaking in the new scene, even before the house was built. Bird calls and boat horns replaced the sounds of car traffic, and the flora, fauna, water and sky gave us something worthwhile to watch. With each visit the sense of place of our new home was being imprinted on us.

Sometime between childhood and adulthood I conceived of my "happy place" which was an imagined place of refuge under a tall straight tree with a high canopy of leaves beside a body of calm water. Beneath the tree was a rich green lawn where in my imagination I would lay down and close my eyes, distracting myself from whatever was causing me to be anxious in real life. In fact the oak in my new yard is almost exactly what I dreamed up back then. The tree stands gracefully beside the water and reminds me to let go of anxious thoughts and embrace happiness instead. Creating a home and garden to share with family and friends gives me great happiness and is the inspiration for this website.

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