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Location: Midwest, United States

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Living In Ruins

So much has happened since my Mother died. My heart and soul have been talking to me in ways they’ve never spoken before. I’ve experienced vivid dreams and discovered the truths contained within. The fog of death and despair has lifted. My eyes are open wide again.

What I see around me is not pretty. I see that I have been living in ruins.

First, there is this house my wife and I shared for fifteen years. I cannot call it a home any longer, although it most certainly was a home…once. I can’t remember when the air changed. It was years ago, and the change was something subtle then. Today, the air is poisoned vapor. The home is merely a house now, and a rather sad and shabby one at that. I don’t belong here.

It is not fit for human habitation.

Who would have thought that bricks, lumber, plaster and paint could reflect two souls? The house exudes its inhabitants’ turmoil, anger and melancholy. The plaster is cracked; the paint has turned dingy and dreary. Broken fixtures whisper stories of broken hearts. Weeds have crept into the lawn and elsewhere. There is no joy or laughter within these four walls. There is only silence. Although the roof remains, storms still find their way inside.

I remember the house as it once was, when it was warm and welcoming. There was order then, cleanliness, charm and a loving air. Flowers proliferated and the grass was lush. Fresh paint glistened in the sun. Bright windows brought the sunshine in to light each room. A home has no dark corners. Now, the shades are drawn. The devastated house is dark.

* * *

I was never one to be attached to place. It was never in my nature. When I was happy, I was happy anywhere and everywhere. I guess that’s the way it is with refugees. My family moved often…from tenement to hovel to fixer-upper. Wherever we lived, we worked. My parents bought their first house (a shack, literally) and slowly transformed it into something larger, different, better. Once done with that, they sold and took a modest profit. We moved and started the process of rebuilding and remodeling all over again. I have no memories of a childhood home. A bedroom one year morphed into something different the next, only to morph again. My place was ever changing. I spent my life working with tools, tearing down old walls and creating new rooms. Life was always about sweat and toil, change and improvement. Very few moments were spent in the repose of a quiet home.

* * *

I’ve changed. I need a home, a refuge, a sanctuary. As a consequence of my divorce, I am moving back to a condominium that I had purchased and lived in some thirty years ago. As I began to restore my condo, I came to feel that it would not do to replace solely the worn out carpeting and the obsolete appliances. I want more than modest functionality. I want a home. It’s a hunger that keeps growing deep inside of me. It has become insatiable. In a radical departure from past practice, I am purposefully creating a home. New carpeting will not suffice. I want solid wood floors and Persian rugs. No more linoleum for me. I want ceramic tile. The shades must go. I need beautiful draperies. I need wood and leather and textiles and soft lights and handcrafted pottery. I need living things, natural things, sensuous textures, and beauty. My wife can keep the furniture we bought together (she can have everything except my art). Every new fixture, every new piece of furniture must resonate deeply within me. The condo will be transformed into an expression of my self, my aesthetic sensibilities, my delights and my desires. I’ve never felt this need before, but I embrace it.

I am creating a home…and, in the process, I hope to heal.

* * *

Funny thing, I have a similar impulse regarding my motorcycle. It will not be enough to restore it simply to good working order. This winter, I will transport it to a custom shop and have it stripped, modified, chromed and painted. I want to invest my heart in every thing I own.

I don't know how else to heal. I truly don't.

* * *
(to be continued)


Blogger Amaris said...

Listen to Nick Drake's "Place to Be" song.

Or better yet, listen to the lyrics.

Wed Aug 02, 11:18:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

I love Nick Drake! I know his music well (may he rest in peace). My favorite Drake song is "Northern Sky."

Wed Aug 02, 11:29:00 PM  
Blogger Amaris said...

I'm glad you enjoy Nick Drake, too. I recently discovered him, and am curious how many other artists are out there that I'm missing out on listening to simply because they're from a slightly older generation. It's perplexing. I love Northern Sky... but right now I don't really have a favorite. Your post reminded me of "Place to Be," though.

Thu Aug 03, 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

"...slightly older generation..."??

You made me smile. Nick committed suicide in 1974, I believe. He was my contemporary. He recorded only three albums. Listening to them today, you can almost feel the end coming. Funny thing, I believe he's more popular now than he was before his death. His voice, then, was drowned out by psychedelia and the pyrotechnics of a boatload of rock superstars.

As for how many artists you're missing out on? Thousands. So am I. Even though I have several 1000 CD's, tapes and...yes...LP's, I've barely scratched the surface of all the great music that existed then, and exists today.

Thu Aug 03, 02:24:00 PM  

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