a house of wolves and ungentle whispers

There's a landscape the old stories know about but which I seldom see these days in poetry or shared dreaming - the house. Oh, we talk alot about tables and sofas and lovely decorations, don't we? But few of us equate a high, windowed room with hills, or the dark and narrow twist of a staircase through a building's heart with shadowed woods.




Recently I was talking with a friend about our favourite landscapes. Sea, mountain, forest - I had to admit, with a truth long denied, that mine was the large and half-empty house. Perhaps it's because I lived my most important years in a home that was spooked to the bone with wild old hill wind and night secrets. But then I moved to a brand new one with perfect carpet and pale yellow wallpaper - and it too had a depth, a hidden murmuring cave of depth; and a breathless height always full of a white horizon dream; and it had, despite its newness, somehow a long and haunted memory that was as profound and affecting as any ocean on any broken shore.




Everywhere is the world. A house is trees and burned seas and millennia of buried things. I'd rather stand in an empty room, watching net curtains swell in the wind, than feel that wind brush against me mountain-high or coming in from the tide. And I'd rather sit on an overly-trodden stair, with my hand against the wall, than in a woodland. I'd dream of the once-trees. I'd feel the memory of generations of feet beneath me, trembling through me. And I'd be as deep in the world as I would in any forest outdoors.



Highly recommended: House of Wolves, such beautiful haunting music, and the soundtrack for my current work-in-process.


12 comments:

  1. What a timely post. I too, feel this way about houses. And today, I almost lost mine, but didn't. It's a long story, that's not quite over yet, but needless to say, I'm relieved.

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    1. Oh gosh, I am sorry to hear about this! How very stressful! I pray all goes well for you. xx

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    2. Thank you, Sarah. The rental we've lived in was going to be sold, and we were going to have to try and find a place to live in 20 days. It looks like we're buying it though! This is, a true miracle. I'll tell the whole story when it's all over.

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    3. What wonderful news! Such mercy comes out of troubled times, doesn't it? I am so happy for you. Come what may, I wish you blessings. <3

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  2. Although I am much happier outdoors taking in all that nature has to offer there are certain houses which I find welcoming and others not. I can remember once going house-hunting and as we entered this empty house I felt strange and kind of frightened - kept looking over my shoulder, seeing things out of the corner of my eye - not welcoming at all. Needless to say, we didn't buy the house - and I was relieved to get back out into the open.

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  3. Oh, how I love this. Once again, I come here and find riches - ideas and feelings that remain with me.

    I feel great tenderness for houses, and I even believe that they can return that love, in palpable ways; when they are given love and care. As odd as that may sound. I think John O'Donahue describes that as very Celtic way of being at home.

    That music is just gorgeous, too. xx

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    1. Absolutely house can return love and more. Absolutely they have a spirit, whatever it might be made from. It's why I love old houses especially. They have a richer, more interesting character.

      Have you ever been in a house, like Elaine was, and felt you were being watched? I wonder sometimes if its the house itself. I've been in places where I had to leave immediately, shaken and sick. The houses were just so traumatised, it was like they were disaster zones. I never knew what happened there, but I couldn't stay even a moment to find out.

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    2. Yes! Oh yes - without a doubt. I've felt all of those things.

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  4. Though I'm happiest when outdoors and near the ocean or in quiet forests, I do feel a draw to certain old houses with lots of space and trees around them. I have yet to find the house of my dreams, mostly having lived in new red brick affairs which don't inspire the soul in the same way at all. One day, maybe, I shall peek out of windows in a room and a house of my own :)

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  6. I love old houses, with a soul. I would love a small cottage of my own, with large windows and an overgrown garden.

    I love reading your poetic thoughts.

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  7. Oh, I love this so much, Sarah! I adore houses, and always prefer them over the outdoors. I dream of having one of my own someday... and old one, with vintage wallpaper and wooden stairs....

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