Wednesday, November 7, 2012

In the Beginning

Photo Credit: Morguefile by Jusben

This post is a response to the GBE2 prompt: Beginnings.

In the beginning, the crab apple tree was in blossom. Lilacs, shortly afterward, filled the air with sweet perfume and smelled as purple as they looked. My children, they wanted a trampoline, and we installed one in the yard. Rowan climbed the crab apple tree to the top and sat in the dangerous branches, the king of a reach that stretched past roads and duplexes, until it disappeared into streets climbing toward the mountain in the west. Devin followed him and the two threw rubber lizards and shoes that got lost upon small portions of the roof.

The carpet, in the beginning, was still white.

We had a new puppy and we put him in the yard. The yard had grass then and the puppy played. He found the shoes that fell from eaves and ate some of them, threw up, and was crated in disgrace. The cat became confused by our new location and left us, searching for the home he used to know.

My kitchen was white and green. It shone like the reflection of a package, yet untouched by sticky thumbprints or scuffed by careless shoes. Sturdy tiles ran across the floor, so much better than linoleum, and I was proud in my kitchen—this galley kitchen too small for three adult humans to inhabit without a crash. I chattered about breakfast nooks and Mike made drawings of them. I made drawings in my mind of gazebos, granny units, tree forts and forsythia bushes. We both made lists of all these things and we waited for more money to arrive. The cat came back, scrawny, and decided that this must be the place where food would be provided from now on.

While we were waiting, the dog wore tunnels in the lawn to ease the visiting of friends in other yards. Devin broke some sheet rock and we patched the hole. You can still see the place. Someone threw a bowl and shattered the glass of the back door. Lacking funds, we covered it with duct tape and we waited a bit more. The finish in the bathtub began to chip. We bought a nicer shower curtain, and I took to leaving it closed. After years of stomping feet in a yard whose grass had slowly died, the white carpet became dirty, so dirty it took on the brownish cast of shame. We pulled it out, but we didn't get to finish the hardwood floor. We are waiting. Waiting for more money to materialize. Waiting for necessity to dictate. Just waiting and watching entropy occur.

Each scuff mark, each chip, each stain that won't come up is human history written upon the bones of our little home. In the beginning, there was nothing. Just the smell of flowers, the white emptiness of rooms unfilled and the possibility of whatever we could dream.

We have lived here and written our lives upon the palette of the new. It looks like ruin, but it is history unfolding. It is the cave painting we do upon our dwelling—the proof of our humanity, the archaeology unfolding that will later be the past. Skeletons of splintered wood and pottery shards of  wall un-patched.

Don't mend that. Someone might need it to know that we were more than words. Someone might need to know what it meant to be alive, to breathe in lilac hopes of thirty-something prosperity, to exhale dust, to take in accommodation through our permeable skins. We cast off destruction as we live our lives. We spin out broken fragments of useful home. We live like tornadoes.

In the beginning we were nothing but a dream.


  1. Yay for living, for making history, for leaving our marks and for lilac blossoms.

    1. Those are all good things and it is good to remember. The lilac still blooms, unscuffed.

  2. Our homes are indeed the evidence that we are more than words. Beautiful.

  3. What a lovely way to look at the wear we inflict on our houses and surroundings, Thank you!

  4. It is amazing how empty spaces are made into a home marking proof of our very existence.


  5. Wow! I have gained a new perspective on my home thanks to this!! For I exhale my dust every day. I have things around this house that I actually SCOLD myself for not mending.

    Today, I'm going to TRY to release the guilt I've placed upon myself for all of that.

    Many who enter our home say that they see a house where love comes first. I'm going to try to see that, too. Thank you for this!

  6. I think you should print and frame this, and then hang it just inside your front door. It is beautiful.


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