Hearth and Home

In times of uncertainty we often retreat to home for a sense of safety and comfort. In the 19th century, a period of enormous technological change and social disruption, “hearth and home” became a symbol of stability in a changing world. As the actual use of fireplaces for heat and cooking diminished, their symbolic use increased in literature and art. That idea of the safety and comfort of hearth and home still echoes through our collective subconscious.

Those of us who live in and love historic homes may be particularly in touch with this concept. We devote large amounts of time, energy, and money to restoring these buildings that have sheltered generations before us through troubled times – including wars, economic upheaval, and disease. We know these buildings intimately and often know the history of those who lived in them before us.

For me, being in touch with this history is comforting. I’ve read the 1863 diary of Emily Whitten, written in my house while her brother was fighting in the Civil War. I know this house has sheltered its inhabitants through fear of outside forces that cannot be controlled before. I find comfort in that.

Many of us will likely be spending lots of time at home in the coming weeks. As we face the current climate of uncertainty and social and economic disruption, I hope you can find comfort in your home, with your family.

I’ll skip the ad for the book in this post. Take care and stay safe.


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