Whether the sky is milky, distorting the tree line with wisps of white feathers, or whether it’s dingy with shiny liquid drops speckling the windows, the weather never entices you to stay inside more than on those days. And, often times, I’ve given in and found contentment in the comfortable places indoors.
Sheldon Cooper personifies this feeling in the show The Big Bang Theory saying, “That’s my spot.”
Whenever I walk into a room, I find my place where I want to sit (if I don’t have it already in mind when I arrive there). Today, it’s a couch with maroon suede upholstery that sits upon an antique oriental rug draped over worn hardwood floors in the Seton Hill University administration building. Tomorrow, who knows?
It could be a padded, high-backed chair; a table that has just the right amount of warmth and light placed next to a window; a local coffee shop (I love the White Rabbit); a bookstore; or a couch at home with a fleece blanket curled around your shoulders and draped over your legs, which are tucked neatly beneath you, with coffee in your right hand and a book in your lap.
As you can tell, I’ve had many quiet, cozy, and comfortable places in which I’ve spent hours perusing a book or sipping a hot cup of coffee. Sometimes, I’ve even just taken in the moment and peace that comes with staring out a nearby window, thinking about life (not the stressful parts). No matter where I was, I felt content – almost as if I were at home again.
“Home wasn’t a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.” ― Sarah Dessen
As I’ve been away from home at university, I’ve found these comfortable places essential to survival. And, more often than not I’ve been with some amazing people.
There’s Barnes and Noble, Starbucks on Route 22 (where I would meet many of my friends after school or on the weekend just to talk), the library, the Parlors, Little Amps, and others. But there are two that hold special places in my heart.
There’s St. Thomas Roasters, where I am never ceased to be relaxed whether its seated at a tiny octagonal stand just big enough to set a mug on, the worn tan couch with the Linglestown blanket draped across the back, or a picnic-patterned cloth-covered table with mismatched chairs where my friends and I made a home playing cards or chess. The dark green walls and gilded ceiling trapped us in from the outside world, scenting our clothes with the aroma of freshly roasted coffee, preventing us from ever doubting that there could be a cozier place.
There’s Midtown Scholar, where I’ve been awed by its levels of shelves sporting manuals, fresh paperbacks, cookbooks, and ancient tomes impregnated with dust and worn covers that crack if you so much as look at them too long. What mysteries I longed to discover there, along with the hours I spent with completing homework, browsing for hours, and taking tea or coffee in the gallery with live music every third Friday of the month. There’s no better enchanting place for readers to dream about uncovering the secrets of long-forgotten times and subjects, and no more inspirational place for escape.
Finally, there’s the White Rabbit Café and Patisserie, which isn’t in Harrisburg, but Greensburg, Pennsylvania, where I’ve passed many hours talking to friends, doing solitary school work, and trying desperately to feel comfortable in a new city to which I had come to study. This eclectic space with its bright green walls and scrambled egg ceiling inspires the same fantastical, nonsensical freedom as Alice in Wonderland. Whether I’m discussing life on one of the mismatched couches or laboring over a paper at a table beneath the framed abstract artwork, I always a sense acceptance and peace. It’s my happy place and the first place where I felt I could be myself.
I’m going to leave the descriptions there so you’ll have to visit yourself to really understand what makes these places so special to me. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have made so many memories with incredible people who’ve shaped my life in the most wonderful ways. Now and forever in the future, I’ll be able to go back to those places, embracing the same comfort as you would embrace a best friend.
Finding these cozy and comfortable places, I’ve been able to find a home as well— a place which I can always come back to, without fail.