Posted by on Sep 29, 2010 in Reflections | 9 comments

House 3
 

 

I know this may sound bizarre, but sometimes I am quite convinced this ancient house we Sabourins dwell in has a soul. I think of her not as a place but as an extension of our family, one I bicker with when she springs random leaks or when her plaster cracks and crumbles – when she invites the cold to pour in through the numerous gaps in her (peeling) wood siding, and single pane windows. I have found that when I gingerly tend to her, however, with a soapy mop, a swiffer feather duster – when I care for her by keeping her tidy, and by adorning her with cut flowers and framed photos of those most precious to me, she responds, she stands a little taller, a little prouder,  like how Charlie Brown's humble Christmas tree bloomed miraculously with beauty and gracefulness upon feeling truly appreciated.  

This morning, I awoke to Troy's arms around me and Mary, on the other side of the bed, snuggled up beside me, snoring; Priscilla was laying at our feet under the heavy down comforter which kept us toasty and me hitting the snooze button not once, not twice, but three times before finally emerging from our oasis of rest and comfort. My old house creaked and moaned right along with me as I ventured down her stairs to make the coffee.  Sunlight greeted us in the kitchen and the reality that life consists mostly of plain old hard work peppered here and there with sweet moments of giddiness,  relaxation and laughter, jolted me awake and right back to the grind that is managing a household  as I began preparing breakfast, gathering laundry, spewing reminders about teeth brushing, bed making, putting homework in backpacks.

"Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you have was once among the things you only hoped for," wrote the Greek philosopher, Epicurus. I dreamed, when I was teenager, of  someday finding a good man to share my days on this earth with, of having children with him, of inhabiting a house containing priceless memories of our long life together and enduring love. Ya'll, I'm livin' the dream! I cannot forget that! I should never forget that! And this house, as crazy imperfect as it is, is our shelter from the storms. My job as a mother is to keep it a sanctuary of peace, a place for my family to refuel before heading out into the hecticness and ruthlessness of this world. We are partners, the house and I, laboring as a team to forever bless my beloveds with a courage inducing, faith inspiring, sense of security.  Today I dedicate the following poem to her, and vow to really try to grumble less about the inconsequentials, especially in light of my family's health,"wealth" (our physical needs are being more than met) and limitless devotion to one another.

Here's to you, my fine, three-story, Victorian friend! 

 

What My House Would Be Like If It Were A Person

 

by Denise Levertov

 

This person would be an animal.
This animal would be large, at least as large
as a workhorse. It would chew cud, like cows,
having several stomachs.
No one could follow it
into the dense brush to witness
its mating habits. Hidden by fur,
its sex would be hard to determine.
Definitely it would discourage
investigation. But it would be, if not teased,
a kind, amiable animal,
confiding as a chickadee. Its intelligence
would be of a high order,
neither human nor animal, elvish.
And it would purr, though of course,
it being a house, you would sit in its lap,
not it in yours.
 
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