“And now that I have come to be master of the house, I gaze up at the mountains, bend down to listen to the spring, look around at the trees and bamboos, the clouds and rocks, busy with them every minute from sunup to evening. Let one of them beckon and I follow it in spirit, happy with my surroundings, at peace within. One night here and my body is at rest, two nights and my mind is content, and after three nights I’m in a state of utter calm and forgetfulness.”
Po Chu-i | The Thatched Hall | 817
Pictured: Shen Zhou, Lofty Mount Lu, Ming Dynasty, 1467.
These old houses have countless entryways for life outside to seep in. One could never cover all the holes. Ants, spiders, weevils, lizards, dare I say roaches. Most are just passing through, trying to find their way back outside. But the spiders, the spiders like to linger. They can sense which corners are suitable for building, living, eating, mating and they move right in.
First the webs are invisible to me. The spiders mind their business. I mind mine. But with time, these corners become matrices of dust and debris. I noticed within the last week or two that it was time again for me to cut through the cobwebbed clouds. Even after taking note though, I took another week to get it done.
For me, cleaning and thoughts about time go hand in hand. I took the vacuum hose to these spider mansions and wondered, when is the last time I did this? I remember the day somewhere off in the distance and the space between then and now feels like a blur. But that moment, my knees pressed into the wood, felt like a checkpoint. I checked in on the story line of my life and asked where do I stand in this story? What does my character represent in this narrative? Being honest with myself in answering that question forced me to re-calibrate, realign. The corner clearing ritual was not only physically cleansing but also gave me momentum to think about clearing cobwebs from my personal relationships. I need to ensure the channel between me and the people I deal with is clear. And sometimes that means having tough conversations.
Inevitably, life’s cobwebs will return. and as they do I welcome them as check points, as opportunities for realignment.
“People who are domocentric are so profoundly connected to their house that this relationship has become a substitute for, and a barrier to, close relationships with other people.”
I know this about myself.
I’ve known this about myself.
But for Clare Cooper Marcus to call me names for it is kinda rude.
I actually agree though.
It’s the very reason staying in always sounds better to me than going out.
It’s the reason I know so few people.
But this attitude has been necessary in my evolution.
If it wasn’t for such an honest incubation in my home, I would not be equipped for this life.
Now I think a bit sharper.
Now I speak a bit clearer.
Retreating into my self and my house brought me closer to my center.
And when I go outside to face all the things that want to throw me from my center,
I know how to get back:
Either pull from the tool belt i developed for myself
Or go home and recenter.
I’m thankful for the time I get to spend at home
but now i’m ready to venture out and speak up.
Here I am.
In the beginning, we tried to keep some distance between us. We had to preserve what we discovered.
I remember a text conversation from the fourth or fifth night. We had to decide if we should spend yet anther night together. I finally said ‘maybe it would be better if we spent tonight apart.’ I rolled my eyes as I sent the message. I put the phone down, got in the shower and pouted the whole time. I tried to convince myself it was for the better but it wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted him next to me and I didn’t see a reason to fight it if I didn’t have to. So after my shower I sent another message,
and this time I told the truth.
and he came over.
and together we simmered.
The urge to be together was stronger than some faint need to be cautious. Trying to fight the urge felt stupid and pointless. So we listened to our bodies and we listened to our spirits and we spent every night and every morning together. It wasn’t something we talked about, it just happened. Almost overnight we went from crushes who still wanted to keep secrets about ourselves to lovers who bloomed and bared all.