Monday, December 3, 2012

This old house

I had a old house in South Africa.

But I loved her and I cared for her and she looked better and she felt like home.  I dont like new houses.  I dont like modern and am highly suspicious of white walls.  They look like they come out of a box.  I dont like chrome and gleaming metal.  I like old counters where other people have leaned on their elbows and made peanut butter sandwiches and drunk tea.  I like old baths that have been well soaked.  They feel welcoming.

Likewise I dont like gardens that look too well maintained or neat.  With colour blocks.  And raked paths.  I like chaos and leaves and birds and vegetables.  I like gardens that look shabby but loved.  Because the one thing that I have learn't is that if life is to be lived, really lived, it has to be messy.

I have an old house in Australia.  She looked very tired when I moved in.  She was shy at first, but she opened up to me slowly.  She started chatting to me one day when I was sitting drinking my early morning tea.  She whispered, I really need to be painted a bit.  So I did.  I wasnt very good but she was very understanding and even laughed softly under the tickle of my brush.  I started feeling her groove as I cleaned and dusted, slowly, slowly.  I felt comfortable in her passage, up and down, carrying laundry, toys, clothes, towels, the discards of life.  I found nooks that I dont think anyone had looked at and hung pictures there and I packed clothes in her cupboards and washed dishes at her sink and watched the red wattle bird that lives in her tree on the fence.

I like her more and more.  She is too small really for us.  I have too much stuff but she feels right.  As if I needed to be contained on arrival.  Perhaps she knew that too much space would make me feel more lost.  She is a wooden hug and I like her cracked step and front door that sticks.  I feel the echoes of others here and I like it. 

Its taken six months but I finally feel like I am home again.  I have spaces for things and know how things work.  I know where the creaks are when I sneak off from sleeping babies and I have her oven figured out.  I have waist high tomatoes and rows of corn and the neglected roses that I pruned down have rewarded me with blooms.

I have a good home in Australia.