I’ve been resisting sitting down to write. I had the idea to write about home beginning a week ago, on the first day waking up and not owning the house I once I thought of as our dream home.
We owned a house. A beautiful house in a beautiful place. The kind of house that people talked about. A dream house. And then, after 8 years in that house, we decided to pursue a different adventure in a different part of the country. And we set out to sell the house. Everyone thought it would sell right away – it was so memorable, so welcoming. Our agent priced it far higher than I hoped, but I’m notorious for underselling value. Of myself, certainly, and often things I own.
And nothing happened. Oh, lots of people came to see it. And said they loved it. But no one made an offer. We dropped the price. And dropped the price again – to right around where I probably would have started. We needed to move forward, so we left the house behind. He started the job we decided to leave for, we sent the girl to grandparents, and I packed up (or more accurately supervised packers and movers while weeping copiously).
We found a more than suitable house here – more accurately, I found it. I chose it. And we could buy it. Through this incredibly cold and snowy Michigan winter, the house, our home, has been cozy and safe and sheltering. Just what a home should be.
We finally got an offer on the house in mid-February. The offer was low, but the price we settled on was acceptable. And then more negotiations when the inspections revealed … things. But a price was struck, a price we could live with. Done. Relief. And grief. I loved that house. But I was also afraid of it. It was too much for me. I never felt the house carry me – I always felt like I had to carry it. There’s more to that story, about carrying when you should instead be carried. That’s for another day. This is about houses and home.
I felt lighter and lighter last week, as the reality set in that the very big mortgage was gone, that we only have this house, our home, to care for and to let care for us. And then on Sunday I read the lovely piece in the New York Times Magazine about Peter Mathiessen, who died the day before it appeared.
Near the end of the article, the author quotes from Mathiessen’s book, The Snow Leopard: “In the longing that starts one on the path is a kind of homesickness, and some way, on this journey, I have started home. Homegoing is the purpose of my practice.” When I read these words, I burst into tears. Yes. Homegoing. More on this to come.