Four walls and a roof … seems like that would be enough. But it takes more than that to make a home. I think its interesting that a home … sitting empty … will start to fall apart over time. Any building in fact will start to decay unless it is ‘lived’ in. I’m sure there’s some deep science behind why this happens but for the purpose of this entry we’ll focus on my own observations … after all … this is my blog post.
I think a home has to have love & laughter, weeping & mourning, passion & zeal, it has to have that spark of what makes life, life. Like water to a tree I think that a home flourishes off these human experiences … it craves them. Perhaps comparing a home that is well lived can be very similar to a person and their own experience. Meaning, we’ve all known folks that have “checked-out” long before they were dead. We also all know people that live way beyond their circumstances. We immediately say that one is more ‘alive’ than the other.
Today my home got a good dose of ‘life’. It seems like yesterday that we moved in and while we only recently closed the home is becoming more and more our own. It was a hard choice purchasing my mamaws place because … well to everyone else it’s “mamaws place”. I want to hold on to the memories and preserve as much as possible … but I can’t deny that some things need changing to fit the needs of my own family and that of my in-laws. So while I’ve gone into some changes kicking and screaming I have started to adopt some as things I want for my own family.
We’ve had a withering American Sycamore in the front yard for some time now. Well it’s been there since I was a kid playing at mamaws house. Anyway it’s been loosing more and more leaves & with each big wind storm larger branches would fall. It was only a matter of time before a branch landed and damaged a vehicle or worse … fell on the house itself. In as much as I hated to cut it down an opportunity presented itself and it was time to make the call. I hate losing the shade … and my yard just doesn’t look right yet but it was the right thing to do.
In order to salvage some of the wood to re-purpose and keep the life of the tree with us I mentioned to the wife about making seats around an area in the back yard where we’d been burning brush off and on all year. The grass was dead already and while we could have brought it back I had always wanted a fire pit. So today our neighbor came over and lent a hand and with the help of his hand truck and a lot of sweat equity we ended up with a pretty nice setup. My father-in-law wasted no time in building a fire and that quickly turned into, “lets cook hot dogs and hamburgers and invite Major (our neighbor) over”.
The sawdust and the “seats” came from the Sycamore out front, the logs in the fire came from some brush cleanup that we had done back in the spring. The smiling faces come from the expectations of hot chocolate, songs, and stories being shared around the fire. I have never seen such happiness in all the kids in my house (father-in-law and wife included). As I said it didn’t take long till we were eating, singing, and telling stories.
As I mentioned earlier our neighbor came over and as always lent a hand. I like that he comes out whenever he sees my father-in-law in the yard working. He kind of keeps an eye on him when he’s out over working himself. He was here for tonight as well and he started leading us in song. Here are just 2 of the ones we did. It was dark so the video isn’t the best. The point was the peace and serenity that we found.
We’ll do this again soon I’m sure. I’m sure we’ll do it often when it’s warmer and I’m looking forward to inviting my Aunts, Uncles, & Cousins over so they can see what we’ve done with Mamaw’s place. It’s still a balance of preserving the old and building the new; but the house is alive again … breathing with love, passion, warmth, tears, fears, expectation, and all the other parts of life that make up the human condition.
There’s life in this home again.