by Zinta Aistars
I chose this house in its pine forest for its seclusion, its oasis qualities, place away. I also chose it for its modesty. I must plan carefully, how much to put in this basket, how much to save for that basket. A place now, a place for that golden future.
While I wander the northern woods of the Keweenaw, a second counter offer arrives. Yes, quite reasonable now. But I'm in no hurry. I am walking the shores of Lake Superior, her red rocks beneath my feet. Nowhere does my heart beat quite as fiercely, and at that same time, in such peace.
I return to search some more, and I see yet many more places, each with their own fine attributes, each with some daunting lack. Ah yes, that second counter offer. It was good. Three times I walk through this place, listening to the sound of my own steps. Three times I walk the pine woods, lean against their tall and slender trunks, listen to the breezes shushing in their needles. I lean into the door. I gaze out the windows. I stand in that fine kitchen with its high and sloping wood-planked ceiling and watch the sunlight slant through the trees outside and turn the wood golden.
And now the bustling begins, the lining up of papers to be signed, checks to be written, numbers to be crunched, inspections to be conducted, final details to be worked out. Gather the boxes. Price the movers. Consider the accumulation of stuff and sort.
It is an exercise in reviewing one's life. There was a time when I moved often. Now, time has passed, and without realizing it until recently, I've settled in. I'll be feeling this move more than most. In the early morning, when I take my old chow pup for a walk in my old neighborhood, where we have walked so very many mornings together, I get a little misty-eyed. We will find new trails to blaze, new paths to wear in. Yet the old routine had grown pleasant, if initially resisted.
A house becomes, with time, much more than a house. It becomes home, and Home reflects its residents and the residents the Home. How will this new place change me? How will I make it mine, truly mine, and not just with signatures on a stack of papers?
Will we become close friends, this place and I?
If I have likened the search for a home as akin to a search for a soul mate, the metaphor still holds. We have decided we have chemistry, but now comes the true test of time, the gradual bonding, the daily routine and its constant repetition until we get to know each other so well that every creak and whisper becomes familiar. It is a marriage of place and person.
I must only enter with an open heart.