Wednesday, September 24, 2003

entirely sex-less, this post

This is the last week that anyone will live in my house. OK, so I don’t know that for certain, the landlord could sell it to some crazy person who wants to live in a falling-apart farmhouse and pay for the privilege, but as far as I can see any sane person who would buy this property would tear down the house and use, at most, the old stone foundation. Maybe some of the old boards. More likely than not, the house will fall down before anyone buys the property, or at least sag considerably, although hopefully it will be empty of Robin’s things before that happens.

Earlier this month I had the luck of seeing some old photos of this place. An older couple I know, Chrissie and Duncan, used to live here, back when their five kids were school-age instead of living down the road raising their own kids. The house was completely different, there was a glassed-in sun porch, and all the rooms were divided up differently. There were windows in now window-less areas, and vice versa. There were far fewer trees in the yard, you could actually see the mountain across the river.

Then Kathy, my neighbor who gives me drives into Baddeck from time to time, usually at 7 in the morning when she’s going in to work, showed me pictures from earlier, when her dad, Alec, (a famous Gaelic singer in his day), and his family lived here. The wedding of her parents that took place in the lawn here. More shots of a mother and kids standing in a tree-less lawn looking happy, with the mountain in the background.

This last week of inhabitance for the house has only me to be part of it. Will has moved out, to his mother’s to prepare for his trip out West. Mat has been out of here since Sep. 1. There is just me now, puttering around making tea, heating water for dishes, changing the garbage, shaking my fist at the squirrels and mice who day by day get bolder, to make this house a home. Gradually silence has replaced people, and when the boys were here with me I didn’t notice it creeping in, through the windows, out of the cupboards. But it has become bigger than I, than the noise of living. I try to make my presence bigger by almost continuously playing music. It’s not that I fear silence, it’s that I want to protect the little house from its inevitable demise. This house used to be filled with parties, fiddle tunes, loud singing, women canning, children running, and god knows what else. And then it was Robin’s house for so long, with her joyous mix of crazy chaos and puppy dogs and late nights in front of the woodstove smoking, and all the rest of it. And now, after a long and interesting summer of us three young ones, that no one else will ever live here seems odd.

This evening, after I made myself a small omelet and ate it, I stepped outside to see how the air was cooling off. It had rained all day today, all the muggy air turned into liquid and sank into the ground. Then the sky cleared around five, and so around seven, the air was quickly cooling. However, in the valley bottom where the river flows, there was still a lot of moisture, and it was condensing quickly into a white mist. I walked down there, to Kathy’s fields, to find three of her four horses there, trotting around in the mist, and so I picked them some wild apples and fed them. The sound of their three enormous mouths munching so close to my ears was amazing, and I closed my eyes in order to better hear it.

Soon enough they turned and ran off down field towards their warm barn, and I watched them until they disappeared in the mist, until the last sound of them had faded.

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