We bought a house. Twenty-two years after moving out of my mother’s house (which means 22 years after living in a house at all, which also means 22 years since meeting my husband), we have, together, bought a house. Exactly 75 miles west (as the crows flies) from my childhood home, and 41 miles northeast of J’s. Just 10 miles upriver from our sparkling Connecticut coast. A house.
A house! With its quirks, needs, gifts. Features that surprise each time we unload a few boxes. The same way I’ve often studied the human body, I now study oil, propane, HVAC, electric, septic, well, water treatment, vapor shield, ventilation, insulation, filters, and floors. I study the pumping, flowing, buzzing, angles, and light that make a house—that make our house. I love our sliding barn door, our fireplace, our chimney that climbs through S.’s new room. Our half-octagon dining room and our bright red door. I love that the flora and fauna echo my mother’s yard completely. I love meeting the longtime residents: wisteria, allium, lilac, hosta, catmint, chipmunks, house crickets, chickadees, and at least one woodpecker who, so far, has signaled only with sound.
We’re no longer hermit crabs, though I may be growing into a hermit in a house in a valley in the woods. A house in a small town that’s building a bee highway. A house nestled into an eastern slope by a brook, which feeds a river that runs by my sister’s place before supplying the Sound. Land that climbs the western hill and ends in giant granite ledges. A bowed wooden bridge that has our little boys say, “We’re standing on top of the stream!” A house where we can leave muddy boots by the firewood. Because it’s a house that comes with mud and firewood. Because it’s a house!