On A Cold January Day

It’s 18 degrees on an 1850’s home. Eight fireplaces are dormant, strong but untested. Central heat an easy button, triple hung windows and protected storm windows seal in the hand poured single pane glass. A name still etched in a glass pane by a willful daughter a century ago, I surmise that strong will is a part of the heritage that chooses such a home. My own father forbid me to marry my husband, before two years, he would have kept the son in law and perhaps forbidden the daughter’s presence. Passages of “or else” often turn on parents that way. Union rule.
Old homes are a patchwork process at best. Sour milk plaster walls with horse hair to strengthen the paste held up about 150 years longer than modern drywall. Laborers used what they had…we now seek their ways.
Laying a fire and bedding the coals not simply a skill but survival. A simple cold isn’t so simple without modern antibiotics. Parents and elders expected death among loved ones in cold winters. If the lack didn’t get them, being unprepared for brutal cold would.

This morning I warm to a gas stove lit and ease of a clothes dryer in the new year, not held captive to last year’s crop to have food on the table or a clothes line to dry my clothes. We take things for granted. We forget how much abundance even the meager modern life contains.

My father said we live with ghosts of a past we do not appreciate. Lessons in journals and diaries we do not read and seldom discipline ourselves enough to write.

This home has become our home this new year. It’s humbling to realize we have chosen to caretake her story and preserve her walls until her next steward appears. This chapter begins…

We begin by making her walls ours… and becoming like the bride in a new home.. choosing to look past her scars and delighting in her every nuance as we find home.

Let the new year begin…

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