We’ve been in the new old-house for one month. For one month, I’ve been a slave to this house. Painting, painting, stripping, repairing, patching and painting. I’ve been a slave to this house, and yet I feel as though I owe it to this house.
While I don’t believe in ghosts or spirits, per se, I’ve always felt that old houses have a certain spirit, a life to share. I suppose it’s a child-like, magical fancy, like believing a wardrobe can take you to another world, or attributing feelings to your stuffed rabbit. This house is alive with a past and the promise of a future. It will shelter me and share its warmth through all that is to come. It will love me and protect me.
When I first saw this house, it was hurting. It had been neglected for years. When I first saw this house, I was scared of it. I was scared of the love that it needed. But on the first day that I saw this house, I had the opportunity to walk through it alone. I took my time. I stared at the cracks in the walls and the gouges in the wood trim.
I looked at the craftsmanship of the ceiling, the original glass doorknobs, the old brass lighting.
I looked and I made a decision. I decided to love this house. I decided to give it another chance at life.
As I work now to nurture these walls, I can’t help but think of Dickens’ phrase, “Recalled to Life.” With each stroke of the brush, I give new life to something so much older than me. This house, this 1922 bungalow, has stood strong for years. And now, in its new life, cherished and loved, it will love again.
It will share my heartaches and my dreams. It will shelter me and share my voice as I sit down to think and work and write.