Personal Space

Story William Browning | Photograph Luisa Porter

There is a room where Susan Smith goes often.

It is on the north side of her College Street home in Columbus, and there is a floor-length window through which she can see her garden. She likes the room for many reasons, but one is that she can sit in a favorite stuffed chair there and enjoy the fruits of her labor. Smith and her husband, Alan, own Smith Landscaping & the Greenhouse. Plants are one of her life’s passions.

Music is another passion. Smith is the choir director at First Presbyterian Church on Bluecutt Road. So between her business and her church, she spends most of her time immersed in her passions. There are few who can say that. It is a good life.

But each day begins in that room for an hour.

It is a place about 8-by-12 feet with a rug atop tile. There are books along the walls and binoculars, a radio, potted plants, a wicker basket, family pictures, bookmarks, coasters and tiny toy houses everywhere else.

She reads. She watches her garden.

She meditates.

She is not always alone in there — her husband and children sometimes come and chat — but Smith always leaves recharged.

When she goes off to meet her other passions, she is centered.