Thursday, February 9, 2012

the life of a house

I've always had an abnormal relationship with inanimate objects, and a way of extending communication to those things that aren't normally communicated with.  I've had moments on mountaintops when a whisper of breeze through the trees seems to speak perfectly to the exact thoughts running through my head.  I've sang to bulbs and seeds and sprouts that grew into sustenance and never seemed to mind my chatter.  I've looked into a farm dog's eyes and known for certain he was thinking what I was thinking. And, for the last 2 and a half years, I've walked into my old, blue house nearly every day and said - sometimes out loud, sometimes internally - hello.

In two and a half years (nearly three) I've gotten to know this house pretty well.  Which is to say: well enough that I am not as surprised when this house completely surprises me. Like when I am sitting in the chair I always sit in at the time I always find myself sitting, and I look up and think I've never noticed the paint had undertones of gold at this time of day. Or any other thought that speaks more largely to the ways the places we inhabit can still continually amaze us.

And today is one of those days. I'm home sick and have been pretty much confined to my bedroom and not moving much from under the warmth of my comforter. Yet, all around me I have heard my house speaking. I've listened as the world around is making noise and my house, yes my house, seems to respond. Just a moment ago I heard a rather robust groan come from the depths of my house and I thought Ole Blue, I am yet to fully know you.  I've sensed since I moved in that this house has a life of it's own, with layers and layers of human lives it has held and stories it has known that I can only guess at, but today was the first time I really experienced the life it has outside of its inhabitants.

I realized that most weekdays from 8 am to 6 pm, I am out in the world and my house is sitting on this piece of land living its own life. Throughout that ten-hour block of time much changes in the life of my house, things I don't even know because I'm not usually here witnessing them unfold all around me. Had I not puttered down to the kitchen to make a bowl of soup, I wouldn't have known the way the light changes my house at 2pm on a Thursday. Or the way my house changes the light.

It's had 101 years to make a life for itself. I should have guessed it would have dimensions I would come to know slowly, some only by chance.

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