A House Is Not A Lover

Written By: Julia  Wind

Some people may say that a house is not a lover, but in this case it was. Some people might think that a house is an inanimate object in a landscape, a still life, but to me this house had a personality, breathed, moved me. Some people might believe that a house could never satisfy the longing of one’s soul, and in exploring whether or not this house would be able to do that for me, I found that I was excavating down into to the depths of my own foundation.

I liked being isolated with this house, just it and me, alone, together, submerged deep within the Northwest woods of East Hampton, far away from all the hoopla. I liked to be selfish about it, keep it all to myself, and resented unplanned visitors, treated them as rude intrusions interfering in our privacy.

This house permitted me to explore my most private and real self, a self I rarely showed in public. It was too personal. I was too raw. Nothing secretive or aberrant, just not able to be owned yet, nor seen by others. A self I was not on a first name basis with. So this house provided me a container in which I could dwell in my own presence, womb like, amniotic fluid-like, and insulated.

Here I was able to direct my gaze inwards, towards me, and outwards, towards this house, treated it like a brand new friend at first, eventually as a partner-in-crime, then becoming intimate with it, lovingly looking after and taking care of it, feeling loved and being taken care of in return.

You see, by the time I had decided to occupy this house, not just live here for a season, or a year, as was the original intention, but really commit to it, displacing my old life entirely to reside here, I had given up on the world in large part. Given up on other people in large part. Given up on myself in large part, on finding love.

Inside of this house I was able to shut out the world, shut in myself. Like those birds who twist their long necks to submerge their heads fully into the sand, not able to see anything or anyone around them, I wanted no one around me to be able to see me.

The world outside had not been good to me, had not satisfied my deepest longings. I felt betrayed by it. I felt tricked by it too, though, because in other ways it had been good to me, had provided me with some things I cared less & less about the more & more of them that I attained – professional achievement, accomplishments, financial gain.

Still I crawled into bed alone at night, woke up in bed alone each morning, craved so open-endedly for so long to find a playmate for my heartbeat to beat up against.

This longing stretched into a great yearning, and then an overwhelming ache, until it threatened to undo me. And one day when I could bear it no longer, I turned away from it and banned it.

Then I stepped through and closed, locked, triple-bolted, and welded shut the steel door in the impenetrable wall that I’d erected in order to keep it outside and away from me.

Thus I found myself in the perfect shelter in which to hide from a world which had kept its greatest treasures hidden from me. This house became my world. A brave new one. My very own. And in the process I was asserting my own self as sufficient. And I found peace there, was caressed by frequent moments of tremendous beauty there, experienced love there.