Monday, December 17, 2007

A wash of pink

My home exists in multiple places. My home is an old Victorian house with a female soul. I call her Virginia. She will be 100 years old next year. She would have been built in the summer. She faces southeast, the Lake. Once, in the winter, I found old clothes stuffed into the cracks of the basement walls. A woman's turn-of-the-century home-sewn wool skirt. She would've been a size or two smaller than me, and much shorter. A child's jumper. A toddler's sweater, its elbows patched. A pocket (large) from a man's navy and green bathrobe!

This was before pink insulation and blue foam insulation. Not very effective in keeping the draft out (which was why I discovered these clothes of the original owners), but at least not carcinogenic like the blue polystyrene foam insulation that entombs just about everyone's house these days (that is, if you live in the north).

There was also crumpled up newspaper stuffed in amongst the clothes. The Toronto Globe from December 29th, 1910. Funny, it was December 29th when I went down the stairs to once-and-for-all get rid of that draft! Probably exactly what the woman of the house had done many years before me, calling for her daughter to go get those old clothes that they never wore any more.

My home is this house. This house full of my family, food and books. With a peach-faced lovebird and a goldfish slowly changing colour. My home is warm, has running water that comes out of a tap, flush toilets, heat. Windows. I feel safe in my home. There is no violence or drunken arguments in my home. There is no rudeness or swearing or belittling in my home.

My home has walls covered in large red flowers, a black bear in a midnight blue spiral, Finnish women washing clothes at the river, bluejay and grosbeak feathers, a sura from the Koran stitched in gold calligraphy on black velvet, a tin mirror from Puebla, pansies from Margit's backyard. My home has copper plates from Iraq, brass plates from Lebanon and papyrus from Egypt with Hathor's cow headdress. Tutankhamen sits on a shelf. An angel pipes a tune. Over my right shoulder, Van Gogh's bedroom opens to another place, not here.

My home is open to the outdoors. From my dining room window I see starlings and sparrows and chickadees crossing each other in the bird intersection, the open space of our yard. I see red berries in the high bush cranberry caroling in the snow, a blue spruce imperial against the wind, a juniper, moonstruck.

My home is a place of food, friends, creativity, of debating and discussing, of deep conversations, of critical thinking. Very little small talk fills the air. My home is a place of giving thanks, of blessings. A sense of humour, surely.

My home is also found in the outdoors, in the fresh air. In the silence of morning. In the crunch of the snow underfoot along the creek, along the lakeshore. My home is the opera of an open sky. A wash of pink on ice. Nanabijou on the horizon, eternal.

Underneath the ice, below the waves of Superior, glacial meltwaters lie undisturbed for tens of thousands of years. A million stars above bear witness. Above and below, blackness. The primal deep. The end of each beginning, the beginning of each ending. Unending.


Rauna said...

You write about your home so beautifully and with warmth that is so palpable and real that it reminds me of the times I visited your house and home. Full of people coming and going, talk and noise, inspiring conversations over fantastic food. And what a treasure to find those concrete pieces of history in your basement!
Your blog reminds me to stay aware of the beauty that surrounds us, grateful of things that we (too) often take for granted, to stay in tune with here and now - one of the great challenges of our contemporary lifestyles, even in places like where I am, where many people continue to be connected to traditional livelihoods. When I rush to my midday walks (otherwise I would miss the daylight!), I look at the sky that looks very similar to the pictures on your site, and I think of you and our conversations. Today in particular the sky here looked exactly like yours in the photo. Yes, you're absolutely right, our homes are in many places, and I think that small parts of our own homes can be found with good friends and at their homes, no matter how far away.

E.P.Stewart said...

This is lovely, Taina