Thursday, January 12, 2012

On domesticity,

The old house…seems relieved to be rid of our furniture. The rooms where we lived, where we staged our meals and ceremonies and self-dramatizations and where some of us went from infancy to adolescence, rooms and stairways so imbued with our daily motions that their irregularities were bred into our bones and could be traversed in the dark, do not seem to mourn, as I had thought they would. The house exults in its sudden size, in the reach of its empty corners. Floorboards long muffled by carpets shine as if freshly varnished. Sun pours unobstructed through the curtainless windows. The house is young again. It, too, had a self, a life, which for a time was eclipsed by our lives; now, before its new owners come to burden it, it is free. Now only moonlight makes the floor creak. When, some mornings, I return, to retrieve a few final oddments – andirons, pictures frames – the space of the house greets me with a virginal impudence. Opening the front door is like opening the door to the cat who comes in with the morning milk, who mews in passing on his way to the beds still warm with our night’s sleep, his routine so tenuously attached to ours, by a single mew and a shared roof. Nature is tougher than ecologists admit. Our house forgot us in a day. I feel guilty that we occupied it so thinly…that a trio of movers and a day’s breezes could so completely clean us out.
- Hawkins, Culture and Waste: The Creation and Destruction of Value
Low of 18 degrees F tomorrow night, 12 Saturday night. At the expense of more splinters than either of us care to count, our newly insulated roof is nearing completion. For the time, we can only hope that it will be enough to offset the uninsulated walls and paper-thin windows.

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