Monday, October 6, 2014

Manna in the Morning: HOME

Manna in the Morning: HOME: HOME
I love a fire in the morning, like the one I just lit in the old fireplace with a little leftover kindling and a couple sheets of yesterday's New York Times. I think it was a portion of the weekend arts section, with a photo of a bright blue toy train on a track. Need to take the chill off from last nights rain. Manna seems to enjoy it as well, as I sit here stroking her head waiting for today's issue to be delivered to the front lawn by the lady in the red pickup. It gives me time to think about how the elements of this old house, at least for me, have a life of there own. How many fires have been lit in the hearth the last 87 years, and who were the people who lit them? Did they feel as I do a strange comfort when walking on the hardwood floor, listening to the creaking chorus of time inlaid in it's bones? A mother who, in the early years of the depression kissed her two children goodnight in the back bedroom and closed the door with the glass doorknob, the one with the purplish hue. Those children now well into their age if they still live, do they remember at this time of year how the 7 AM sun broke through the east living room window, the distorted and diffused light cast diagonally on the wall through the wavy glass? A son, home at last after a long and harrowing 18 months in the Navy in the south Pacific, 1944, sits quietly alone at an old wooden table in the kitchen, a cup of coffee in hand, looking out at the oak tree. He senses the importance of coming home as he rests his arm on the window sill, the same one I sometimes rest against. The man who lived here alone in 1959, his children grown and gone, would open the glass paned door to the side porch and collect the two bottles of milk delivered there every morning about this time. Now books are installed in the glass cases  on each side of the fireplace, replacing the vast collection of blown glass animals and figures that once was proudly displayed by the lady who lived here before us.

I wonder if Manna, her heightened canine senses alert to all that surrounds her, subtly inherits these ghosts of time. We certainly do, though what and who they were is actually a mystery, the above caretakers of this house coming mostly from imagination. But that in a way provokes ever more wonder and mystique to these surroundings. You could say this house is nothing special, a small bungalow set in the midst of hundreds of others, but I think that would not be present to the way lives unfold, as down through time we live so much in the pockets of those that came before. They made this house special from their presence in it, within their own pocket of time as we now do..

 The children we raised here have gown and gone too, but their running feet and laughter will somehow always sing within these ancient boards, along with the ticking feet of puppies. After we move on to other places, someone else will sit by this fire, and instill their own legacy within the fabric of this house.

The sky has lightened, last nights rain has moved on. A chill lingers outside, but not in here.
Posted by James Scott Fleming at 6:42 AM
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1 comment:
claudia dixon said...
Hello the house! Makes you pity all the folks in their crisp new condos with all the modern conveniences and the still fresh smell of new paint, forced air heat and often no fireplaces. Maybe there is a view, but that only directs your thoughts away from your house, and the life inside it. A hearth in an old Craftsman makes you think about the simple comforts and inconveniences experienced by the ghosts of the past. There are ghosts in our house too. Thanks for reminding me this morning that an old house can be a blessing and a comfort, especially if you take the time to situate yourself within the flow of the history it must have seen.
February 9, 2013 at 7:34 AM
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A Place Apart

We have been in Berkeley, Ca., a little over a month. C has started Seminary here, and I am practicing Architecture the best that I can. It is a new chapter, a new space on this world to explore, and we are loving it. It has been quite a while since my last post. So many changes, so many splayed roads to get here, yet they are slowly converging into one.

Manna and I have found a new avenue of exploration. The Berkeley hills are full of surprises, and so full of beauty. We have walked the winding streets before the sun has risen over the hill, chilled by the morning air off the bay. San Francisco just appearing from a fog shrouded envelope of night, white and orange in the new sun, its' streets just awakening to the long shadows of an approaching day. C still snug in bed, though awakening now I suspect, to move toward a day of classes and knowledge I will never know.

But Manna finds her own sources of God, standing as still as ice when she spots a wild turkey crossing the road, or a deer, down from the hills, feasting on someone's garden while they still lie still sleeping, unsuspecting in the terraced houses of redwood, stone and cedar. I walk this early hour, along the redwood trails of Cordornices Park , and emerge from the emerald canopy to look at the sun-tinged crescent of fog on the bay below, pearl and citrusy colored in its half awakened state.  At the terrace above a rose garden, a man stands with a cup of steaming coffee, his face alight with new found day, surveying the cobalt Marin County hills just appearing now out of the dawn. Manna stands looking, gives herself a shake as if breaking the night's final bond of closely held arms, and looks up at me wondering why we are standing in this one place for so long.

We shall walk these edges of life for a while now. We are here to begin a new chapter. I do not know its outcome, and yet, that is its beauty. That is its song that plays so empty at first, but fills and fills with lyrics we shall come to know so personally, so completely, so universal in its acknowledgment of our own fears, yet will reveal I suspect, a life that is worth what we thought.

 Manna is ready to head home. A fresh cup of coffee in hand for me, a treat to slip a lip over for her.