Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Life in a Tree House
Our house was built in 1924, and I love it. I imagine that the man who built this house must have been a romantic. We are the third owners, the women before us, lived here for 2 years. The family before that built not only our house, but the house's around us. Mostly, I feel like I was destined to be here and I do not know why.
There are more windows than wall space. Most of them casement, and crank outwards like we should be looking out on the Cape. None of them are standard. The light floods the house in the morning and I am overcome with a half-awake happiness. A calmness that only the gentle soft morning light could achieve over my cranky morning self.
The ceilings are 10+ feet. They feel huge in comparrsion to me.
There are old pine floors that go one way, vary greatly in width, and excite me in the romantic way they should. There are oak floors that go the other way, are perfectly symmetrical, and bore me most days. They require 1/2 the work.
Not one of the doors is level.
The house is full of life in the summer. The southern humidity brings everything together. The littlest cracks that drive me crazy all winter, all swell and fill with the summer heat. They keep the cool air-conditioned air inside, where we need it most.
In the winter, while my neighbors tree shaded houses are all creaky and cold, the same sun light that prevents me from ever growing the smallest flower, keeps our house warm and compensates for the gaping spaces in the casement windows. I never have to check the weather channel in the morning, I only have to stand barefoot in front of the sink.
Did I tell you that our house is framed in the same red cedar that sides it? The studs are magnificent. It takes a fully muscled man and large power equipment to hang so much as a mirror. That mirror will be there as long as the house.
On top of the frame-work, lives our plaster walls. It too, is alive in a way that some human beings are not. I fix cracks, we plaster, we paint, they come back, they want to be here . .to be seen. . .there is no other explanation.
My kitchen is in the back of the house, where modern floor plans do not allow. There is no "Great Room", yet I am grateful for my alone space. No one bothers me back here. I am here now, typing away, while the sound of the television blares from the front room. They will find me when they are hungry, but not before.
In our house, the dirt rises from the ground below, the windows bring the fresh air in, and light fills the space in its natural glow. Our house in its aging imperfection, economic shortcomings and modern inefficiency's, clearly represents what Scotty and I stand for. We are romantics, drawn together by something stronger than we are, and we do not know why.