... and build her a house
If we save things (and do I ever!), remodeling and building bring
us face to face with numerous objects from our past - objects which
often we thought that we'd thrown away long ago. But it's not only
stored away objects which we encounter. We find ourselves facing
the gradual changes that have taken place in our lives -changes
that may, taken individually, be small and insignificant, but as
a group, over extended periods of time, point to very real transformations
in our lives.
Thirty years ago I was fascinated with the possibilities of geodesic
domes. This fascination wasn't only with the engineering aspects
of these domes, but also, and perhaps predominantly, with the lifestyle
choices which they seemed to embody.
This geodesic model - constructed from a sort of tinker-toy building
set, was on display on a shelf in all of the rooms I've lived in until
our present house. For me it was a reminder - one day I'd build, and
live in, something like that. Actually, I'm quite sure that I never
truly expected to realize that goal, but it represented for me an
attitude, a perspective, which I tried to maintain.
That attitude was part of a worldview that today might be called anti-globalization.
It was an attempt to resist the ever-inviting lure of accepting, perhaps
capitulating to, what might be called "middle-class values".
Those values, and
the ongoing struggle to resist them, were perhaps best exemplified
in a poem by Diane Di Prima -
a poem that I knew I had copied out in longhand somewhere, but only
found again as we remodeled.
We've lived in our home since it was built - fifteen years ago. Only
now, however, as two walls were removed, and others had to be broken
for new wiring, did I discover that I wasn't the only one archiving
things. During the building process the
house was doing this as well.
And through all these
changes I found myself asking an additional question. As I've noted
previously (and often) the sentimental value of the items that I save
often develops with time. Our lengthy (much too lengthy) period of
remodeling - visibly reaching it's end, but still, as of this writing,
not complete - isn't something I'm going to quickly forget. Do
I want to save mementos of it as well?