Rain, lots of it, coming down on the trees, the land, the buildings. It has been raining for days.
To conserve on heat I moved into the larger bedroom that has an attached bathroom. I installed a convection heater on the wall that is advertised to only cost four cents a day to run. Being lone, I don’t need much space.
During the months of August and September I had two major emotional upheavals. Both of them made me aware of how everything is fine until it isn’t. No matter how much inner work I do, the outside world can easily shatter my peace. I don’t know how I endured my childhood, well, the answer is, I didn’t.
I entered adulthood as a badly mangled survivor. Children need to get certain things from their environment to grow up healthy, but many do not. More and more, I think a safe, nurturing childhood is the key to everything, and that this nurturing environment cannot be the sole responsibility of just one person.
With knarled veins on my hands and deeply etched lines under my eyes, why do I keep going back, back, back into the netherworld of childhood? I read a story once about a very rich woman who spent the last years of her life in a special room in a hospital surrounded by her doll collection. She didn’t need to be in a hospital, she was not sick, she just liked being in that particular room and had enough money to pay for it.
Twenty years ago I stayed in a motel room with a partial view of the ocean. It had a small kitchen and bath. Because it was a very old motel in a desolate beach town, the room was not very expensive. I asked the owner if I could rent it for a month but he wouldn’t do it. He said that because it was the only room that had an ocean view, he wanted to keep it in circulation.
When I was traveling two years ago, I found this motel again and the only room available was this room. I rented it for two nights and felt the same special pleasure I had experienced the first time.
On my 62nd birthday, I stayed in a magnificent room. It was far too expensive, a crazy indulgence, but the pleasure I got from being in that room for 24 hours was worth it. It transported me into a different world where I felt rich and pampered.
For as long as I can remember, I have been searching for a special place. I used to buy architectural design magazines and cut out pictures of the houses I liked. With my income, they were all out my price range, but at least I knew that the kind of house I wanted was out there, that it was real.
No matter where I live, I always go out for walks to look at the houses. As I go by each one, I rate it on whether or not I would want to live there. I wonder why this sense of “place” is so important to me. As a relatively poor woman, I live in a nice enough place, but it is not “the place.” I have exasperated many realtors by my incessant search for the perfect house.
For several years before I sold my condo, I had been fascinated by round houses and very much wanted to live in one. And this dream came true. I found a huge, three-story round house out in the woods that had two smaller round houses nearby. The room I rented in the big house had floor to ceiling windows all along one wall that looked out onto an organic garden. I was, literally, living in round house heaven.
My father loved his cars and his houses. Every year, he moved his family into a bigger, better house. So, maybe this is at the root of my desire. What seems to keep people going is the search for what they don’t, or cannot have. As my parents are in their eighties, and I am in my sixties, maybe the elusive house we all wanted is finally out of reach. Or maybe, the house was a metaphor for something else.
Sometimes, when I am traveling through a small town, I will look up at the windows of a hotel on Main Street and think, “I can see myself in that room.” It may be that instead of a grand house overlooking the ocean, I may end up in a hotel room, like the rich woman in the hospital. Given my meager possessions, what would I do with a lot of space?