i heard the house exhale the other morning, a deep resounding sigh.
i listened close. heard an echo. realized it was my soul, doing the same.
there was no other sound anywhere in this old house. i was, bound by snow and drifts, home for one sweet day. home, alone.
home with pipes that gurgle now and then. home with wind, humming through the window cracks. home with flocks of cardinals, grace wrapped in scarlet feathers.
i realized, feeling the deep warm wrap, feeling holiness seep into my pounding chest, i realized what i’ve known for years now: tiptoeing through this house, dreaming out its windows, catching light and wing and flight, is the marrow in my bones, the illumination in my soul.
all at once, as the teakettle turned up its whiny song, as i listened to the clock tick-tock, watched the snowflakes tumble down and down, i diagnosed what’s been wrong all these last few months, what’s made me cranky, feel like pent-up steam about to burst: i’ve been home sick. away-from-home sick.
oh, i race in each night, just round dinner time. sort the mail, dump the junk. eyeball someone’s homework. check the fridge, see the milk is gone, race out to the store, alone with all the other mamas who wrap up errands when the clock strikes ten–just in time to miss the nightly news.
i’m up at half past five, racing once again, packing lunch, stirring oats, sometimes treading on my mill (as if i need a power cord to do that never-ending exercise).
oh, yes, i hang my coat here. sleep in a bed here. cook and clean. but what’s been missing all these months is something so essential: i breathe from the bottom of my soul here, when i’m alone, when i’m in rhythm with the light and wind and birdsong. when i’m here to dash to the rescue of a broken stem, a worm that’s drowning in a puddle.
don’t laugh. it’s deeply true.
i am at once two souls: one who dearly loves the women of my workworld (and a few of the men as well), but one who lives and breathes for the solitary world, the grace-filled homescape that speaks to me as prayer.
i felt the slowing-down seep deep the other snowy day. i felt the pilot light of faith spark a higher flame. why, i even had the apple sliced, laid out in pinwheels, when the little one bound in the door.
isn’t that a higher grace than water-cooler chatter?
some days maybe not. some days there are wounds to heal beyond these walls.
but all in all, it’s here at home where i am filled with deep, still grace.
staring out my kitchen window, watching snowflakes pile high, i caught that papa cardinal pecking at the few last berries on a bush. i heard the breath whoosh out of me, so startled by his scarlet red, so close.
as the quiet wrapped around me, and i soaked in his coat of bishop red, i felt certain i had tripped upon the cure to all that’s ailed me.
i felt home, again.
i know, i know. last week i wrote of the joys of being surrounded by a circle of wise women at work. such is the yin and yang of life. all i know is i breathe best when i am home, and with all my heart i wish i could stay here……
why do you love to be in your house? or, conversely, what do you absorb from the busy world beyond your walls?
she might not happen by here today, but doesn’t matter. i am sending birthday love to one of the finest hearts and minds and souls i know. my beloved crd, a brilliant light in my life and so many others’. and not just when the halo comes from a ring of birthday candles……xoxox