Friday, August 01, 2014

On Making a House a Home

Our friends bought a house. The ink on the final papers is probably still drying on some underwriter's table, but there we were last evening basking in the new joy of the new homeowners. The house is in a good school district with room enough for a young family of four and visiting relatives and mature trees in the backyard to provide a gentle shade. When we arrived, our friend was deep in discussion with a landscaper about some of the trees that need to be chopped down. The home inspector had so decreed.

The adults did the mandatory house tour, checked out the systems and dissected the finer points of what needed to be fixed and what not.  Meanwhile, the children and the lone dog (who also came to visit)  ran amok through the empty living rooms, their loud giggles and the occasional bark ricocheting off the walls, with very little furniture to dampen the mirth or their spirit.  I sat by the bay window and took in this lovely scene of unruly domseticity.

And then I rembered our friends mentioning that this lovely, old house had been in the same family for all this time. All those years ago, perhaps this family had bought this very house for the same reasons that our friends did today. A room for each child and a yard for the potential family dog. More space to invite friends over for many a party to be thrown in the expansive living area and share many a drink at the marble bar. With time, one assumes the children grew up and moved away and the house suddenly grew too large for its now older owners and needed to be passed on to another family. So that it may feel alive again. So that once again it may transition from being a house to a home.

We shape clay into a pot, but the place where it is empty is what makes it useful.
We hammer wood for a house, but it is the inner space that makes it livable.
— Tao Te Ching

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