Some tiny creature, mad with wrath,

Is coming nearer on the path.

--Edward Gorey

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. Outlying Islands

Writer, lawyer, cyclist, rock climber, wanderer of dark residential streets, friend.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

This House is Home 1

As promised in a bygone post, I kept a journal during my first week or so in the new house with the intention, eventually, of posting it here. Unfortunately, it's taken far longer than I imagined it would to get a reliable computer set up here. And so I've been relegated to sneaking posting time in at work, and my volume (as well as my work) have suffered accordingly. Finally set up at home, this marks the first of what will be a half-dozen or so posts, thrown up on the site as time permits and collected in the sidebar as they are posted under This House Is Home. I'm going to resist the urge to revise and perfect, but I'm sure I'll acquiesce to my editorial instinct from time to time.


It's not yours, nothing that matters is yours, until you are naked inside it. There are temporary arrangements, equivocal leases of places and things, but possession, double-barrelled, unapologetic ownership, requires nudity, brazeness, exposure. In vulnerability lies a quintissential power over.

Which is not to say that tonight I flopped nakedly from wall to wall like Godiva challenging these 2,400 square feet, innumerable cubic yards, to deny my claim. In truth, I was courteous, modest, a bit shy -- in a word, clothed.

I did, however, remove my shoes to pad softly across the freshly cleaned floors of my new home, my first house, this place which is now my place, looming over the street, watching its own patch of backyard, acknowledging politely but without intimacy its stoop-shouldered neighbors, withered with age.

This is mine.

Upon entry, the hall smells something like summer on Long Island, the elementary musk of age, mold and moisture and more life than anyone living can recount. It's a comfort, driving my thoughts at once backward and forward into this new responsibility.

The crickets sound like Bloomfield sound like New Jersey sound like childhood summers, as though there were a bay as near as the Allegheny River is. The street is quieter than my pen scrubbing across this page.

There are more windows in my bedroom -- four -- than have ever illuminated any room I have slept in.

Tonight I cannot do this house justice, nor can I convey the elaborate truth of my mixed emotions. But it is suggestive that I sleep here tonight, days shy of my complete move, not because I want to but because I have to. In my third night of ownership, my proprietary sense ascends. No longer can I stand this house standing empty.

It cares not whose life it inherits; it knows only that without life it is no more than a hollow jumble of sticks, a beaver dam, a fluke of quantum physics, an aberration of order.

As its fifth owner in 125 years, however, my view of my role as caretaker grows at the expense of the affirmative construct of the logic leading to this purchase.

Sleep will be long in coming, but the thought of this night spreading its wings into flight warrants my tarrying.


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