The Uphill Slide

There is always something.

Do The Walls Have Ears? Do The Floors Have Feeling?

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Sunday morning on wet grass in bare feet. Lawn and fields of crispness. As if all were neat and clean in this world. But the crisp sharp manicures mowed down the purples and golds of the late summer fields. Vernonia. Solidago. Asters. Looting something intrinsic from this landscape.

The chill numbed my feet as Boots circled on a short leash. Our six wet feet carried grass clippings from outside to the hardwoods thinking nothing of the untidiness of bringing the outside inside. For I am not a visitor to my home nor disrespectful to it. Do you think a house or objects have stories to tell or some spiritual connection to people? Knows the person who cared for it, and the ones who used it? My cousin said she loved her things around her. They carried the stories of people she loved. But only people can speak in words.

Even the cheap junk has a story. Are the stories important? They are if you really want to understand what lies beneath the shallow exterior. I have stories. Not just the square footage or the oaks or walnuts or granite or slate, although they are a story too. The story of a Severline nephew who came to a yard sale. Wood on a train from Altoona. Wallpaper over rough wood. A rocking chair. The story of an owner with troubles like ours whose face I can see in a house up the street in Worthington. The fighting cocks running loose beneath a tree and stories of illegal activities in our barn. The story of the scratch and the dent on the floor. The screw holes in the wood. The missing mirror in the attic. The unlocked window. The cornerstone hidden behind plastic. The cat scratching at the basement window. The hanging swing on an earlier porch. The smell of cat urine on a back porch. The warped wood on the basement steps. The sound of loud buzzing wasps behind aluminum. The missing wooden door and rough floor in the back basement.

And then the kids and the guests. Invited visitors. The ones who slept in our beds and left their body shapes on the sheets. The ones who bathed in the shower and dried on our towels. The ones who dined from our plates and drank from our glasses. The ones who walked through our clothes and shoes and purses nestled against cedar. The openly invited and then the secret. My house withholds stories from me. But it can’t be blamed because we shared so much. I’m not some visitor but its owner who wanted so much more for it. It just should have had better.

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