1 : a consecrated place: as a : the ancient Hebrew temple at Jerusalem or its holy of holies b (1) : the most sacred part of a religious building (as the part of a Christian church in which the altar is placed) (2) : the room in which general worship services are held (3) : a place (as a church or a temple) for worship
2 a (1) : a place of refuge and protection (2) : a refuge for wildlife where predators are controlled and hunting is illegal b : the immunity from law attached to a sanctuary
I’ve spent the 5 previous weekends, and some part of each of the days and evenings in-between, moving into my new digs in East Nashville, after having lived in Franklin, TN, since 1999 (except for the past 10 months or so that I have lived with my buddy TJ right down the road from my new place). In addition to the loads of help from my folks and a few long-time friends and colleagues, I have gotten to this point with help from sources I’d never have considered just a couple of years ago (as well as a lack of help or even general acknowledgment from some folks I’d considered until then to be the most helpful). But as notable as the shift in my surroundings is the shift in context associated with some of the locations I’ve (in)habited over the years.
I spent a lot of time in 2009 and 2010 either physically or psychically away from my home –whether randomly driving in my car on the Natchez Trace or visiting some of the TN State Parks, at the coffee shop in East Nashville, at the movies or the symphony or the Tortoise or Bill Frisell concert by myself, or at my buddy TJ’s house–, and I finally moved into a room in TJ’s house in East Nashville just as the ’09-10 hockey season got revved up. I feel the time I spent living there was a kind of buffer, a reasonably positive transitional space that was really useful for me despite my bitching about the cats and the smoke (and the lack of control over the temperature, and the moths). However, the entire time I was there, I was looking for a place to be able to spread my wings and place my things, and becoming more and more comfortable with my more urban surroundings –and with a very special friend. I found this apartment in late July, and it’s older than any place I’ve lived since I was in college. It’s got its quirks already, –as does having a landlord, as does living in East Nashville–, but it’s been fun getting to know them and becoming more at home in my new home.
Many of the landmarks I associate with my past and present have undergone radical shifts in physical appearance, and some have been replaced altogether at the same location. For the previous 10 years, I have seen certain of these landmarks and people in the Nashville area on a reasonably frequent basis, but always as someone who traveled 40-something miles to get to them. Now that I live in East Nashville, I see or visit many of these on a much more frequent basis, and thus they have taken on new meaning for me. Likewise, certain elements of my favorite places that were easily accessible while living in Franklin have taken on new meaning, as well (but fewer than you might expect; it is the frequent sight of deer and kestrels and foxes I miss the most). The contrast in just the sense of neighborhood between living in each of these two places is enough for several pages of commentary, but suffice it to say I am now living in a place that, despite its many quirks compared to the relatively pasteurized environment I had for the previous X-teen years, feels more like home to me than I have felt in a long time.
I am writing this from the front porch of the apartment, my new sanctuary, on a morning whose 55-degree temperatures and Crayola-blue skies seem to serve as some sort of interstitial frame between the end of a very dynamic and bittersweet chapter in my life and the beginning of one that holds much promise.