No, I’m not hallucinating. I will admit, I can occasionally tap into my ‘flake factor’ from time to time. This truth coupled with my vivid imagination situated comfortably, side-by-side with my slightly disheveled, carefree, mismatched Mom attire, probably makes me appear to be less than stable at times. But I’m of sane mind (today anyway) & I know it sounds wild, but I’m beginning to believe this old house holds a tremendous energy & an uncanny ability to communicate with us.
When I’m in here working, whether it be scrubbing down baseboards, painting walls, sweeping up carpenter’s dust or just simply walking around, coming up with a game plan for a productive day’s tackle, I get this feeling like I’m being enveloped in a loving, warm, whimsical embrace. It’s like this old house is silently smiling all around us as we work to make her beautiful again.
I’ve always believed that houses are alive. Sometimes they have sad lives, they are abused & they break down & fall apart & weep rusty tears & holes are torn in their hearts. If they’re one of the lucky ones, someone will come along, put them into rehab & breathe new life into their tired souls. Other times they are privileged from birth. Brilliant & healthy & strong & loved for lifetimes, these are the homes that stand tall with pride. You walk in & feel decade’s worth of blissful energy overflowing in abundance! Homes have such stories to tell & like any human hardened by life’s episodes or brimming with life’s wisdom, the eyes are the windows to the soul…. Or in this case the windows are the eyes to the soul.
We can learn about old houses by pulling away the paneling & studying the bones of her structure, gazing at the slope of her floors beneath us, by observing her breath & feeling her stretch as the wind blows around her. But what happens if we listen with our spirit self? What happens if we just allow ourselves to ‘embrace lunacy’ for a breath or two & talk to the old place, like we would talk to an old friend? What if we ask her how she’s holding up? Tell her our plans to make her beautiful again. What if we promise to fill her full of love & laughter, utilize her loins for growing our family & trust her strength to keep us safe? What happens to a home if we treat her like she’s “someone” with a purpose instead of some “thing” that stands alone as life happens all around her? How does this change our relationship with the space we live in? I love to call this place our “old house” but the truth is, she’s actually still fairly young. (At least I like to believe she is!) After all, she is but one year younger than Josh & one year older than me, which makes her all the more special in our opinion. Josh was born in 1974, our home was born in 1975 & I was born in 1976. We joke that she was built just for us. To me, this impossible idea is the epitome of coolness.
But this love affair is not just about our new ‘old’ house. The land where she sits is green & fertile, peaceful & inspiring. The lay of the land couldn’t be more ideal, as it’s one of the highest points in all of Pungo, making it one of the few places out here in the Back Bay territory that is not threatened by flood waters. The old growth, fruit & nut baring trees & shrubs & the most excellent combination of woods & openness that surrounds, causes our spirits to soar every time we walk the wood line. We cannot wait to see this space wake up to whatever surprises Spring births. We’re anxious to observe the forests & fields as they come back to life, to breathe in the warmth of salty sea hanging on the humidity, uniting with a Summer’s sunset. The farmland that surrounds us is so exceptionally rich with Virginia’s history. If only the dirt could draw pictures or the stones could speak, they would surely tell heart-wrenching, feral & stirring tales of fierce storms, the heartiest of harvests & the bravest of spirits who inhabited this land long before any of us. It’s truly a majestic piece of Mother Earth’s composition & we couldn’t be more grateful to make it our home.
Unfortunately it’s freezing outside today. The Virginia Beach vicinity really shouldn’t be this cold going into April, but it is. We’re trekking back & forth (an hour each way) to Norfolk, picking up boxes at our rental & transporting them back to the new place. It’s hard to believe we’re finally moving our possessions for what will likely be, the very last time. The feeling is liberating, but the process is exhausting. We are motivated by the knowledge that we’ll be done by the end of the week & then the unpacking can begin. As we made our way down our lengthy, mucky driveway this morning with our first truck load of boxes, we could hear the icy puddles & jagged earth crunch beneath the tires of the truck. It was like we were driving in the North woods somewhere instead of southeastern Virginia. Josh surprised me when he stopped halfway up at the ditch line. Apparently something had caught his eye on the side of the driveway a few days before. He thought maybe it was some sort of old sign, but couldn’t be sure. He hopped out to see if it was still there & sure enough, it was.
Barely peeking out above the mud & icy shards of grass, we could see a few metal letters & some fairly huge lag bolts attached to what appeared to be a pretty massive, weathered old, wooden board. We tried lifting it, but we quickly learned that it was buried awfully deep & basically frozen into the earth. We talked about leaving it for now & coming back later in the Spring to dig it up once the ground thaws out. We laughed at the thought & kept digging. There was no way could we wait. Too exciting! It took some doing, but as the old saying goes; where there is a will, there is a way.
Today this house, this land, this Universe gifted us with a little piece of history we never knew existed. We had to work for it, but managed to dig it completely out of the ground & that’s when we were formally introduced to our new home. Little did we know our beloved slice of land, & our new ‘old’ house has a name!
Welcome home Mauer family, to WILDWOOD ACRES.