Friday, September 03, 2004

Places

I was thinking about the gorgeous old Victorian I lived in a few years ago. A 120 year old structure in the middle if cornfields, the only neighbor being a small cemetery, this was my haven for recuperation from a terrible break-up of a 4 1/2 relationship.

The few months I spent there were both painful and wonderful. The isolation of what the place represented was mirrored by the incredibly snowy Indiana winter. Each night, after work, I would make my way home along the ice covered country roads, the banks of snow only slightly blocking the achingly cold winds, through absolute darkness.

And then I would see my wonderful old home -- its fiery windows alit with half-heartedly strung xmas lights, illuminated stained glass, a single porchlight -- a definite lighthouse amid cornfields.

My cats would greet me as always when I entered and the smell of oil burning in the old furnace would remind me just how ancient this house was. The root cellar was the kind you'd find in movies like Psycho and Amityville Horror.

Back in the livingroom, with three cats and blankets piled high, I would cocoon there and watch bad tv- just to get some noise. The quiet was maddening at times.

During weekends, I'd pull on my boots and stomp around through the depleted corn fields and around the ponds. I was fortunate enough to have an incredible lake across the road, and a pond behind the house, where geese and a wide variety of ducks would come in throughout the day. A birder's paradise!

On a couple of occasions, I pulled in to the driveway to spy a wild turkey on my front porch. Another time, a pheasant.

I miss that place, that quiet. Even the pain, sometimes, that seemed to engulf me. Learning to live alone was never so difficult. There were times I thought I'd burn myself into ash from nights of unbridled rage and grief. Some days seemed endless -- I was a zombie once I left work and headed to my empty house. I never felt like unpacking. I slept and crept around like a crazy catlady, or Miss Havisham.

Then things gradually changed.

I started to rather enjoy the peace and solitude. Going to bed alone didn't seem so bad. The cats even took less interest in competing for my lap, preferring play-fighting and investigating all the nooks and crannies of the dwelling. My heart didn't ache as much anymore. The solitude was freeing. The heaviness was lifting.

When spring came, I moved.

There are times when I think about that old house and all the memories it holds for me, and wonder if other people think about places as "healing," or as "containers for healing." There was such a profound parallel between my processing my hurt and the harshness and wisdom of that 1880's farm house. I am wondering if this isn't the true source of hauntings, the memories that were never fully dealt with...But that's a little esoteric for even me, so I will stop and ask you...

What place speaks to you...

jane

1 Comments:

Blogger Terry said...

Beautiful post, very evocative. Makes me remember snowbanks at home and the cold and wind. I'm not sure I've ever had a spot like that, except maybe walking (or hiding) in the forests around my home.

2:21 PM  

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