Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Far-fetched musings on the soul and some snowbound games

My snow bunnies
I’ve been pondering why I feel such a sense of unease, disquiet about the demolition of the house in Austin. As Brandon said, I didn’t live with its creaky bones and failing sewer system. Although when he said if I lived in a house as old as that, I’d understand, and I had to remind him I have always lived in houses about thirty years older than that one. And maybe that’s part of it—I have an affinity for old houses.

It’s not just preservation, though I am a devoted believer in the importance of that, and I am distressed to see in Fort Worth modest bungalows from the ‘50s and’60s coming down to be replaced by condos and town houses and stealth dorms. We are losing a part of our history, and it grieves me.

But beyond that, I arrived at the notion that a house has a soul, at least a house that has been happily lived in does. By serendipity, I started tonight to read The Soul of America: The Battle for our Better Angels, by James Meacham. He quotes everyone from Jesus to MLK about the nature of the soul, but the line that grabbed me was, “the soul is a central and self-evident truth, what makes us us.” Some of us, maybe those like me with an overdose of imagination, talk about the ”feel” of a house. When I first walked into my cottage, I said it felt like a happy place—and so it has proven to be. But I have been in dark and dreary homes without soul, with nothing about them to speak of love and joy and happiness.

The house in Austin was not a particularly spectacular one, nor was it large, but it was comfortable. And when the kids moved in, it had a cold,unloved feel to it—perhaps it was the built-in furniture, a disastrous but thankfully short-lived fad. But my kids brought to the house two baby boys, a brand new marvelous kitchen, and hordes of family and friends for parties and good times. Those are the things that give a house a soul. And so now, it’s a bit sad to me to see it become an empty shell.

Oh, I know. The new house will be wonderful and exciting, and I can’t wait for that first-floor guest room—how many times did I climb that scary spiral staircase, something I no longer can do and never could with a suitcase. I’ll love the new house, but for now I’m a bit sad. But I tell myself, as I do about my long life, that I have good memories.

Another branch of my family is snowed in at Wolf Creek—22 inches last night. They occupied themselves playing in the snow, shoveling it off cars, making a giant snowman, something they couldn’t ever do in Texas.
You couldn't build a snowman this big
in Texas ever!

And me? I worked on edits to the Alamo book all day, except for a laughingly happy lunch with old friends at the Black Rooster. One of them brought me a rotisserie chicken breast, because she’d heard me complain once too often about wanting just the breast and not the whole bony chicken. Thanks for supper, Linda. Another good day.

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