In my backyard, covered with green and winding wisteria, under a thick solar panel, sits a garage that isn’t long enough to hold a kayak. My parents tried to store boats there. So my dad built an extension out the back that sticks out like a mossy-timbered thumb. Inside, clutter and bicycles from my youth fill wall to wall, covering every surface like worn drapes. We have to park our cars across our small residential street lined with maple trees. The first of the walls and roofs that are my house was built nearly three decades after the first Model-T, almost as old as cars themselves.
Day by day, brick by brick, I have woven my life and my memories into this old, historied house. I have folded them into too much garden to handle. Side by side to neat box hedges making patterns, so satiating to trim neatly under the summer sun. Pieced them onto vintage practices. Like coherent shower controls and laundry tucked in the concrete-floored basement. All these things hold my history. I am rooted here.
Memories are the most meaningful things to own. To hold and carry near me and tuck neatly in my deepest heart space for safekeeping. It is where I let my memories rest unburdened. Time and distance are irrelevant as they gently wait. It is a place for me, indistinguishable from where I have wandered in life, though in reality, it is only where my mind, my past, my present reside. Always finding the most precious intangibilities of life in this sacred place, wherever they may be. Strong iron anchors for my values and being. As I walk through my home, there are memories piled up in the corners of many rooms. Recollections suspended from the ceiling and unconcerned with floorboards, where I can see them if I’m ready as they rest among my bookshelves.
The place I know is home must be one with my soul. It is irrelevant if it stays inside the bounds of buildings. A pool to gaze in. Where I can see myself look back through stories and raucous laughter. It is a self that we leave behind. When we are gone, it gets incorporated, broken again, rewoven into other tales and other people’s lives. We may shed home, leaving parts astride. We may find a home once more, picking up new ideas to take with us on a new path.
My path is here for now. It is in my artwork strewn across the walls, daughters of my past imagination. On the sluggish light that falls through the picture window in my living room and across the cat basking in the early spring sunshine. On the boisterous shades of orange and crimson that don the trees out my window in late September. Pure joy.