Your Icon

I challenge you to find an iconic image for the place where you live.  This might be some object inside your home that captures your feelings about your house.  It might be something outside on your property that has symbolic value for you.  It could even be something meaningful about your town, state, or country.  An icon is a symbol or emblem.  Tell us what symbolizes your home for you.  Help us experience it with you.


33 responses to “Your Icon

  1. I always feel good whenever I see it. It clothes the naked night with light. It welcomes the traveler, the stranger, family and friends. It guides to warmth in the winter and coolness in the summer. It guards against those that may do harm, while guiding me safely home. It tells me that I’m at that place where I’ll find my Love, where I find my rest, where I find my comfort, my welcome. My friend, my porch light.

  2. Huh. Earlier Id left a comment but I don’t see it. It was this:

    Walk, lovely. Just lovely.

  3. [I just realized that I can’t pretend to be someone else here on this blog. That little picture pops up no matter what I post. This is different from Beginning Writers Workshop where I get to post as other people all the time, just for fun. So is my little picture my icon? Heck no. Just a little squirrelly box following me around like a kitten that was weaned too soon.]

  4. The entire neighborhood knows it but I’ll tell you that very few of them really know me. I’ve heard that those who have lived here for a long time even talked about it. I don’t mind knowing this as it actually stirs my pride. Tall, strong, and recognizable just standing there on the corner. Yes, beauty does deserve attention. But, I take no credit for what is mine. I did not even plant the seed that flourished into the cherry blossom; the prettiest and most delicate tree around.

  5. A cherry tree. I don’t know where you live exactly, but where I come from, cherry trees are truly seen as iconic for our area. Wonderful choice of an icon!

  6. Ann, I’m in the city. I have the biggest and I would think the oldest cherry blossom tree around. It’s gorgeous, especially when it snows pink in the summer. My understanding is that they were originally a gift from Japan so I’m not surprise they are iconic to your area. Thank you for the “Wonderful” word. I loved your class and I am glad I rediscovered you!

  7. BCC – So lucky you are to have that beautiful tree! This was a nice tribute.

  8. I was told it stood in front of my great grandfather’s blacksmith shop. Its clear, crisp sound penetrated the whooshing of the bellows and the clanging of his hammer on hot metal as patrons needing assistance used it to let him know they were waiting.

    I first remember the bell atop a pine log left over from the construction of my grandparents’ home. It stood proudly on the hillside overlooking the river. I saw it as a plaything and begged for the privilege of pulling its rope to make it sing. But I was told it wasn’t a toy. A serious and stately object, it was once again there to work. This time, it had the job of calling my grandfather in from the river.

    After Grampa died, Daddy and Mom moved the bell to the lake shore of their home where it was placed atop another pine log left over from the building of their home. Once again, the bell earned its keep by calling my father in from the lake. When Daddy died and Mom sold the house, I was the only one who asked for the bell.

    Today it stands atop a pine log originally meant for the structure of my own home. As it always has been, the old cast iron bell is painted a deep forest green. The surroundings may have changed, but the bell still works for a living. Now its voice echoes down a winding path, deep into the woods to summon my husband home.

  9. A true icon indeed! So interesting how it makes a fine writing topic. A keeper!

    • Thanks, Ann! These quick little exercises are about all I’ve had time for lately. I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to keep writing.

  10. My icon is a candle…. No wait! (choke, choke) It’s John and Martha. (Not again!) I think it’s Gullie’s parrot. Or Waldo’s smashed bird head. Or Fig Mince’s irreverance. Walk’s wife’s lovely nightgowns. Kathy H.’s kitchen table. Just can’t decide. Maybe it’s the alphabet. Guess I need to think on this some more.

    My only excuse is that it is September. This extra–curricular space is my recess.

    • Sorry, I may have sent you another. An excellent watercolorist who has the idea to do her memoir for her grands and illustrate it. She didn’t know where to begin with her writing, so I sent her to you!

      • Don’t get me wrong. I love them all. I’ve often tried ways to cut down on my level of involvement for that course, but in the end, I can’t. I just like doing it too much. Send as many as you want!

      • cranberrylodge

        I imagine there are few surprises, so after ten thousand examples of the same exercise you’re allowed to get a bit bored. But I know you love it or you wouldn’t put forth as much effort as you do. I’ve only encountered one other teacher who read every word and gave such specific critiques. I learned an awful lot from you as I know have others, so on behalf of us all, we’re grateful.

  11. My icon is a wiskey barrel full of flowers. It sits tall on my rock wall. It changes for the season. Sometime bright colored tulips in spring. This time of year reds, yellows and purple mums for fall. And winter it has pine bows, berries, snowman and a big red ribbon. I may come home one day and find it full of mail if the mail man is to lazy to walk to the mail box. Or even a chipmunk has been known to hide in the flowers. scareing me when i walk by it. Birds have nested in it’s leaves. Even a butterfly will stop by now and again. The hummingbirds love the summer flowers and so do the bees. But most of all I like it because it shows me where my driveway is late at night when I am tired after a long day at work.

    • It sounds like that barrel delivers quite an ongoing show. Not just flora but fauna too! You might even begin a photo album. Good way to capture the seasons.

  12. Yes, it’s always nice to see that first welcoming sight when we get home. I could picture your barrel so clearly with all its seasonal decorations. Very nice icon.

  13. Ann’s Icon

    How does one symbolize an intangible, a value given rather than an object? Then, how do you present it to someone and say, “Here. This is your icon”?

    It is a perplexing situation. Let me explain and then perhaps you can tell me.

    Every six weeks, people go to a website called and find a class called “Beginning Writers’ Workshop.” The “Beginners” is promising, they think, hoping they won’t be shown to be totally inadequate in the use of the language. With much trepidation, they enroll. Some are bold enough to use their real names; others cloak themselves in quirky user names.

    The lessons begin. They stare at a candle for hours, wondering what on earth they can write about a candle that isn’t trite and unimaginative. They meet John and Martha, whom they grow to hate. They beat their heads against their keyboards when they encounter the Four Frightful sentences.

    But a strange thing happens mid-course. They realize they post assignments with abandon, leave messages of support for others, and never read a negative critique. They learn from each other, they feed off each other, they bond with Super Glue.

    By the end of the course, they find something so elusive it’s surprising it even has a name. Some continue writing, some have their work published, some find life has a way on interfering with writing and set that pastime aside.

    But all of them, even those who struggle to find the words, find themselves imbued with that intangible I mentioned above, a value given rather than an object: Confidence.

    I ask again: How does one symbolize an icon that is a value given?

    • I have a treasure box where I keep little things that are like talismans to me. I am going to print this posting on some very fine purple paper. Then I’m going to fold it up, look around for a very interesting paperclip, and put it in my treasure box. I plan to take it out and read it whenever I find myself up at 3 PM doing the Frightful Four.

      Thanks, Gullie.

  14. Actually, I was thinking of a pick-me-up. Something a bit more healthful than an espresso. A kind of Success Baby. (Google it! Maybe he’s my icon. I’m still searching.) However, I do think you got the spelling of that assignment just right! Take a look.

  15. Trying to type on an iPad is much over-rated. I saw the typo but posted it anyway. iPad wanted to change “type” to “typhoon” this time.

    I also knew what you meant, but when embarrassed by sentiments, I turn into a smart ass. Sometimes.

  16. My icon is a Louie XVI desk. Someone sat here before I was born, before my mother was born, and before my grandmother was born. I was hoping to find a secret compartment in this old thing. The desk has ornate gold figures with fingers that point. The fingers are not pointing at me, not today, because I wrote a paragraph.

  17. Love that ending. It seems like you have quite an interaction going on with your desk! It’s a keeper.

  18. When we purchased our 2 acre property and a stately Mediterranean style house out in the country, we knew we’d found the perfect place to spend our retirement years. In the first two months, we were invited to a get- together to meet the neighbors. One young boy asked me where we lived and I told him the house two doors down with the hedge surrounding it.
    “Oh, the Taco Bell House,” he replied.
    Our Mediterranean beauty has forever become “The Taco Bell House.”

  19. A field of wheat. There’s something about the prairie landscape that feeds my soul. I was born in Winnipeg and spent my childhood in Calgary. Can the geography of where we are born imprint itself on our characters, our personalities? While tourists raved about the Rockies and the Stampede, I loved the wind-blown waves of prairie wheat. My family moved to Montreal when I was nine and then I worked as an adult amid the noise and clamor of central Canada’s major cities and the wooded, rocky terrain of northern Ontario. I was ecstatic when my husband was transferred to Calgary. Yes, the Rockies are stunning, but I lived to cruise the highway, blanketed on either side by endless waves of grain, eyes scanning whipped-cream clouds in infinite, azure skies. My lungs expanded with deep breaths of the dry, desert-like air. Back to Toronto, and on to Ohio, where skyscrapers close in and congestion and suburbia wrap their iron bands around your chest. Then, Minnesota three years ago. Rolling fields and open skies, clear late afternoon sunlight. Arms stretched out, head thrown back, I breathe deep shuddering breaths and know I am back where I belong.

  20. The Rose Bowl lies just down the hill in the Arroyo Seco below our home. I remember playing football in that fabled stadium when in high school. We used the Rose Bowl as our home team field for Pasadena High. What I remember most were the small crowds of maybe 1100 fans in that huge place, and that the field always seemed so much longer than a mere 100 yards, when compared to other school’s football turf.
    Today I can hear the roar of the New Year’s Day crowds from my porch. I am a lucky guy.

  21. Back before they took my keys away from me, (It has to happen someday) I would be driving some place and I would run over one of those cast-iron manhole covers. They all make that sane clinking sound–don’t they?” Every time I hear that quick double-clink, I do a nostalgia trip back to when I was just a young boy.

    In those old days our home set on a street that was paved with bricks. In the middle of the street in front of our house there was one of those man-hole covers.

    On any given warm summer evening I could raise my bedroom window, lay there in my bed and listen to the night sounds. There would be the crickets in the yard below, the flutter of the moths around the street light and maybe the yapping of a dog off somewhere.

    Then there would be the humming sound that the car tires made passing over those bricks. The tempo would pick up as they came by and fade out as they went away. Best of all every once in a while one of them would run over the man-hole cover and would make that clinking sound.

    Now I would say, “‘if a cast-iron manhole cover could be an Icon?’ I would use one in memory of those bygone days when a young boy could drift off to sleep–listening to those musical bricks and the magical clinkers.”

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