A haven is close to heaven, close to having. Its etymology is harbor, from old Norse, though the figurative refuge it offers is more recent, from about 1200.
I’m not immediately interested in the big havens, like the offshore islands that are tax havens, or the safe haven that could be won by knocking on the sanctuary door, as at Durham Cathedral; but I depend on many small. Always, havens of quiet—hushed groves, noise-cancelling headphones, rare manuscript rooms in old libraries where one can use only a pencil. Havens of color, like the Bonnard gallery upstairs at The Phillips Gallery, or the Old Mexico Shop in Santa Fe, with painted pottery as big and round as hugs and smoky paper flowers in exotic, vibrant shades. And in this chilly January month, havens of warmth—the fireside at Asilomar, a china teacup, a patch of afternoon sunlight along a harboring wall, and one carefully heated room in our cottage, the rest colder than the outdoors, door shut and guarded vigilantly as a refuge of another sort, to keep the cold from rushing violently in.
Havens of laughter. Havens of lucky love. Havens of every sort, holding us tight.
“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.” —Maya Angelou
image: Refugi de la Restanca, Simonjoan