Today is a bit spongy and damp. It might not be by the time you read this. But every October (just after the first round of leaf clean-up, of course) a storm comes through.
This happened overnight last night, wind and rain, and now today is, well, like I said, spongy. The earth itself feels drenched. The grass, still green but sloppy, and, like the need for an overdue haircut, matted down and heavy. The wind gusts tore away sodden leaves from branches that were ready to let them go anyway and the ground is now littered with autumnal confetti. Texts connect friends checking in on access to electricity and water and Wi-Fi. If it were winter the same storm would surely have cancelled the day.
From the start, from the sound of my alarm banging against the walls of the dark, I emptied the day of any overwhelming potential. I couldn’t help it. The divided panes of window glass offered a transparent barrier to the wet and the grey and I easily opted to allow the sogginess to erase the expectation that something should happen. It’s a day when one’s own sweet company makes solitude a guilty pleasure. And I am very, very guilty.
Here is what I noticed. With a limit to my outward living today, the distractions turned to interior detail. The glass lamp on the cherry desk pulls the rich red of the wood up through its prismatic base. The ribbon of fairy blue, rippling through the sitting room rug, that I once fretted about matching to other fabrics, is now the central collaborator for the rest of the room. The miniature lamp shades, perfectly muting the wattage of the chandelier bulbs, change the light into a soft grey as it passes through the material. These things make my home, Home. These small choices. Over time. Enriching my narrative. Calming my breath. Creating my nest.
And too, the solidity of the foundation and frame. The wooden trusses stalwart against the weather. Clapboards perfectly primed to hold back insistent water. Brickwork tidy, strengthened by the mortar and the wisdom of its mason. I revel in the juxtaposition of the chaos and disarray of today’s external landscape and the untouchable, interior solidity I have found inside. Exactly what a house is meant to do. Provide shelter and safety and comfort.
My wandering mind can’t help but want to metaphorically engage with a deeper wisdom on this. Something about our ability as humans to identify what we can build for ourselves, each of us, to create boundary and safety. An ability to define ourselves as our own safe containers, our own fortress, perhaps. That we can opt to create a sense of internal safety and beauty, foundation and frame to enrich our own interior with delight and beauty. That we can opt for peace and the sweet company of solitude on soggy, spongy days.
No doubt we aren’t always up to the task; sometimes it’s too hard to hold back what we observe through the windowpanes. Sometimes the chaos walks right on in the front door and grabs a seat and makes a big mess. But I liked noting the possibility. I liked the idea that the core of my being is very much like my house. I can decorate it how I like, and I can ask it to be my safety even on the dreariest of days.
How about FH Perry Builder comes over for a little while and we can talk about building your fortress.
In peace and strength,