A beacon for houses, the nightlight is a safe passage to our front door. If one feels at sea, find our house, the one on the corner, with the cracks, failing plumbing, electric wires haphazard in their power. Know our light will not go out, despite admonishments that renovation is hard, the challenges will pull at our foundation, all the warnings. Ships find their way along coasts, resist danger, hear the tolling bells. The light at our doorway, the shoals of our landscape, will be forever lit, and you are welcome, and we are home, home safe.
Lines like roads etch the stucco. our house’s face a roadmap of weather: rain, wind, sun, and today, this fog. Fog against the windows, in the eaves, sun just breaking through. We question whether to demolish and strip away the years, or patch and repair, leaving the history, and the roads traveled, as proud reminders of the lives lived. Who are we to decide the fate of a house, built by unknown hands, loved and neglected, loved again, and then left to ruin? My thought is to renew and restore, patch and paste, keeping the history of the house intact so the whispering cracks and crevices continue to speak.
Stare at the underbelly of compost, the rot and dark and loamy steam of it rising on a cold morning, its weight sinking arguments of matter. When the door closes and questions arise, questions that leave you stranded wondering if the compost will spring new life or be left, piled like detritus, left for another day, or left altogether until it sinks into the miasma of lost dreams, I suppose, that one needs to dig in, spread the compost around, work it into soil already there. See if it helps, and if it doesn’t, move on.
A map of the world contained in a leaf, structures of democracies and dictatorships, declining governments and birthing nations. The world’s backbone reaches up and out; tiny tendrils of hope and life dissipate from it. The root of all life breathes in and out. We tore down trees whose scale and care were shopworn; reforestation is imminent. Maybe this country’s needs can be seen in this leaf, this tree, its roots; it’s time to plant again, in the fall, in the coming darkness, so that when light returns in spring, our house, our country can begin anew.
Rain hard as tropical washes the retaining wall, cementing in place a structure built block by block. It’s not so hard, come to think of it, when the eye sees the pattern: square, then short, big block, then long rectangle. Pieced together it forms a barrier stronger than hands, stronger than the earth we moved to make it. Geometry is lost on me, but here, a beautiful thing recycled rises to meet the eye, teases it a little, and when the rain falls, changes the equation to a thing that’s new.
In shale dusted cypress lies a house, gables worn down, the rain incessantly tarnishing the paint. Therein lies a man’s ghost, wired from head to toe with rust, patina rubbed away revealing the good years: climbing roses, clear windows, magnificent bones. He’s here in rain-soaked swaddling, a Norwegian bed where offspring dreamt airplanes and stars, plaster falls; a hole in the roof is open where his soul departed. Now we have patched the roof to keep our souls safe, in the corners of this old becoming new house, in wood and plaster and peeling paint.
The pier that inspired Swimming With Michelangelo, which, when I jumped off of it a couple of summers ago, kickstarted the poem is just down the road from where I live. I love this pier. It’s ever changing, and a couple of days ago, with the sky reflecting in the mirrored lake, it was quite beautiful, again.