It's the holiday season, and we're all thinking about home- whatever that means. I've been perusing my monthly torturous copy of Better Homes and Gardens, which, for December, has a four page spread on setting your table. White dishes, darling, only the most fashionable around.
I've also been looking at houses, like maybe we'll buy one. Don't get excited, the maybe is so big on this it's kind of obscuring the house part. The house hunting led me to a very interesting property out in the boonies- one that reminded me of my grandparents' house in the boonies. A dilapidated two-hundred year old farmhouse with some land and a barn, that woke up this vague and beautiful yearning. I had butterflies in my stomach as we drove out there, like I used to get going out to my grandparents' house. I loved and hated that house as a child. Miles of wooded mountains, farms, and the house full of nooks and crannies brimming with tiny treasures; I was a child surrounded by alien wonder.
Well, long story short, the house was not reminiscent of my grandparents'. I was truly disappointed, really sunken in after all that inflated hope. Because you see, I realized I've been looking for home.
Home, or a house? If I could somehow find that old magic farmhouse nearby...But that house is a product of something like thirty years of living in it and a hundred years of living before that. Someone built that house with four bedrooms and a dirt cellar, wood stoves to cook in and acres of land to live on. There have been human hands stroking the worn banister daily for longer than taxes.
And even more so, are the memories I had tucked into each corner, undusted, unmoved since I last visited. Each time I go back, the mystery and delight of each strange junk filled room rings out like a tolled bell. I reconnect with each moment I left there, making each visit a resonant chorus of memory and feeling. There is no other house that could be such a delight- any house I would purchase would be an empty concert hall, my footsteps on bare floors equal to the hollow thud on a stage and no audience.
I am looking for a symphony in shells, and hearing one lone drumbeat.
How did it come to be, my love for a house I only visited a few weeks out of the year, but not every year? How is it that when talking about home, when looking for home, I am aligning my compass to the Taylor home of my childhood? Why there, and only there, are all my secret little bells hidden?
Of all the twenty-seven years I've been on Earth, I've lived all of them in temporary homes, places I knew I wouldn't stay. There have been 9 apartments(or dorms) that I have moved into and moved out of, each time sacrificing earthly possessions to lesser storage space. In comparison, my grandparents haven't changed their furniture or it's placement since I was ten. When my friend's parents moved from her childhood home, I felt sympathy, but not empathy- I actually could not feel what she was feeling- since I had had three separate childhood homes before puberty. Now, of course, I realize I only needed to imagine my grandparents selling their farmhouse.