The Innumerable

5/11/21

nicole.bretall

5/22/2021 4 min read

The sheer amount of times I've imagined typing these words - likely innumerable - I am a home owner. I find I'm uncomfortable with the idea of ownership. not because of the responsibility or the financial constraints but because ownership feels like power over, control, domination. and i feel i don't dominate, i don't encapsulate, i don't feel the need to lord over my domain exerting my somewhat exaggerated vision of power. i am a creator. a co-creator. i am the person who is privileged enough to dwell within the walls of a structure that is full of life, and lives, and feelings, and moments. a place steeped in history, richness, craftsmanship, care - a place that i get a co-create a life in. and i am the one who is lucky enough to restore a home that is so longing for a restoration, a good cleaning out of what no longer serves and an energization of that core, root energy - for life to spring up and flow instead of being stuck, stagnant, seeping in the dust of the past. And as i clean the floors and sort the belongings i find that the house is doing the same for me. the thoughts and the fears of the past flowing by in the humid breeze flowing through the tattered screens of the beveled glass windows. the bags of paperwork, medical records, calendars marking the days between moments of connection - i find that the space is clearing within myself. in the spaces that have been long stuck, covered in a thick dust and underneath these secrets i have kept from myself, or had convinced myself were no longer there. that somehow if i let the dust get thick enough that they would disappear. but if i want to pull the shades open and let the sunlight in - first the dusting off must begin. 

It's an unusual thing sorting through the belongings of people i do not know. the former owner left most of their belongings at the house when they moved. including the belongings of their deceased partner. It is unusual sorting through the ghosts of someone else's past. I do not know them but in sorting a house full of their belongings - their pictures, travel trinkets, valentines day cards - it is clear they loved each other. how life has a way of separating those who love each other. and i find myself engrossed in the tragic love story and i find myself reliving some of my own. especially now as it is the 6 year anniversary of my return to the UP. it's like that was a different life. and i think of my own tragedies and the parallels with the couple who previously owned this house. and i have a certain appreciation for the forgotten dust behind the curtains. but more on this later. . . 

i don't quite envision what this house is transforming into. and i don't quite see what i am transforming into either. the overwhelm is real - ideas buzzing. it's difficult to know where to start. but it's the everyday. the little by little everyday. somehow i seem to accomplish more than i give myself credit for. and sometimes having it all figured out isn't what it's about. sometimes it's just the figuring out -- that is what it's about. i have flashes of what the house will be, what i will be - who we will be - what we will be. there is always flow - flowing drapes in the breeze, flowing ivy hanging from planter baskets, flowing hair as move about the house, flowing poses in a space dedicated to growth, to comfort, to luxury, to spaciousness - the spaciousness to be whatever it is, what ever i am - going to be. 

i'm not sure i have felt this before. 

i have these intense moments when i think that something or someone will leave, end - that something is going to come along and take this joy away that i'm too afraid to feel 96% of the time. the sheer awe of being in a space that can be my own - not one i will dominate but one i will grow in, grow with - one that will help me get down to the bones of what is real and authentic about myself - and i will do the same for the house. let the birds eye maple breath, let the light in. and in letting the light in i realize that at some point the clouds will pass through the sky and things may feel bleak for some time - but not forever. and i keep telling myself it is ok to feel the knock me on my feet joy, gratitude, and (quite honestly) astonishment in the generosity and love of the people who have helped me get here. i didn't think there was a journey for me that wasn't based solely on deep, crushing sadness. it seems i was wrong. 

and i have found myself in the midst of a drew barrymore never been kissed moment - writing that article for the newspaper which really was the vehicle for confession, expression of self and of love. and she ends the letter, the confession, the overflow of feeling that can no longer be contained - with an invitation to meet her on the pitchers mound of a baseball field and give her her first kiss. it is a countless amount of times that tears have flowed - as she waits with eyes watching - and he's not there - and then he's late. so maybe waiting on the pitchers mound is waiting for the house to close if i want to be ever so obvious. but i think that scene on the pitchers mound is a lot more than that. that wondering when life is going to begin to then realize that the only reason it hadn't was because i needed to open my eyes and start typing these words. and part of me is simply trying to write a somewhat coded love letter to that person who knows who he is. that person who seems to be just fine with cleaning up the dust.