I Want to go Home from Square One
My old farmhouse and barn burned down in September 2017 and my life has been very ungrounded since. I remember my house every day, several times a day. It’s gone, and I live out of drywall boxes that are placed in the approximate space it used to occupy. That’s not a complaint, I’m very grateful to have them, but I just can’t seem to get the rebuild of my home finished. (I'm not gonna bore you with that. It’s all about banks and insurance and lack thereof... *angry, resigned snoring.)
Since I can remember, all I wanted was a home I didn’t have to leave. I wanted heat! In at least TWO of the rooms! I was tired at ten! Just let me be a kid, man! Maybe no mold? No fucking fleas in the carpet!? I didn’t want to have to ask permission to paint the rooms or get the leaks fixed. I thought I was finally there! I wanted to share my home and I wanted the people who came to visit to stay.
My house was my brain turned inside out. Inside it (house, not brain) I could maintain a happy-ish mollusk-in-its-causal-robe feeling. I can’t really do that anymore. I used to go into different rooms where I kept different thoughts. I have pretty severe ADHD and this “method" helps me keep projects going so my work runs somewhat on time. My projects are trains on a Scotch-taped schedule trying not to crash into one another. I’m the brakeman, I’m the conductor, I’m selling me a shrink-wrapped ham n’cheese sandwich and a tiny apple juice in the dining car. My house is the most important piece in my mental health and productivity puzzle. There are boundaries from one room to another. Some work isn’t allowed in the house. This is a new rule and I haven’t figured out how strict it is yet because of Covid 19. We've all gotta make do with what we’ve got or, more, what we don’t.
Managing my home/brain terrarium are the alternating, entwined team of the negative and positive currents that are art and nature, two very broad nouns that cover vast terrain. Art and nature are my real parents. They have gotten me out of all the bad places and taken me around the world to meet good people and feel the connection that is “humanity” and see and partake of the unique art and nature that feeds and cares for them, and by extension, in some familiar way, me! Even when I’m far away from home. Their vastness comforts me and I know that I will never ever begin to understand either one. I’m happy inside the process of following the questions, it’s a sublime, nutritious education. The parts I commune with and the bits I can digest are so stunning I don’t care that I’m not as magnificent and omnipresent as the sun. I know that the “wisdom” or “current" or whatever it is will have it’s way with my tiny life whether my daddy lets me inherit the oil fields or not. I’m here. I’m not a passive bystander or a pawn, but a part of it. I just can’t know everything, which is a great relief. I can shed human tears about a yellow leaf in the woods and how beautiful it is, though. Can the sun do that? Nope! We all have our special singularities.
Thank goodness The Lung (and the paper wasps) still surround me and creep in through the inch-and-a-half gaps where the windows and doors are shouldered in by overlapping cedar shims. Thank goodness I can still suspend my disbelief on the tiny porch made of slammed-up two-by-fours. If I don’t look behind me and I stare hard into the Lung, I can almost believe I live here.
I remember reading about this online. I remember my disgust at the news publishing your information. I remember how desperately you tried to protect your family, friends and neighbors. You thought nothing of your own loss then and everything about everyone you love. And right now my heart breaks for you because you're just now allowing yourself to feel the loss...and not even of what were highly personal, precious things, but of the spaces and the feelings those spaces gave to your spirit. You are a most remarkable woman and I deeply respect you. I love that you teach the world how to feel the world. This substack is a room for you to come into and breathe. I'm so very happy you created it and I'm honored to share it with you.
Impermanence and loss and trying to make sense of the senseless. We're all in it together.