We are in the process of moving; leaving the city after more than a decade and returning to the house I grew up in, which means we are about to become one of those crazy artists couples that live in the woods making their crazy art and getting crazier in their solitude. Except we’ll still go on tour, which is good, because it means we will still experience civilization for a few months of the year, although it might also mean we’ll end up as one of those crazy couples that drives around the country selling their crazy art, picking up stray animals, making really out-of-the-way side trips between shows to see the country’s largest rubber band ball or The Salton Sea or some other oddity, and digging in desert canyons to find animal bones in which to make more crazy art.

My husband Steven is happy to be moving; certainly for the space and the art-related possibilities living in the woods affords, but mostly because the house and property are ideal in the event of a zombie apocalypse. It’s a very old and sturdy house that sits high on a hill, surrounded by densely wooded cliffs, making it difficult to access, but easy to defend. It also has its own well, and could easily go off the grid, so Steven says. He’s probably right… after all, the house was built before there was any real grid to speak of. The land is rocky, but fertile enough to garden, and there is a fresh water source at the base of the hill.

Also, it has a hot tub. A modern one, too, not just a metal trough that you fill with water and let heat up in the sun like mom had when she was a young girl. And not like my “swimming pool” either, which was just me in the bathtub, in my bathing suit, sitting in about three inches of cold water after 45 minutes of whining. I probably could have used more than three inches of water, but I didn’t want to be the reason the well went dry. And according to my Gran, that is exactly what I’d have been.

So, yes…hot tub, seclusion, safe from zombies…I’m happy to be going home, too. The house is part of our family, but its more than that. In an ironic way, it is an exercise in non-attachment. Now, I know I just personified the house, like, two seconds ago, but that’s just the sentimentalist in me; the girl that used to name the rocks in the driveway and the multitude of squirrels in the yard. But it’s that very sentiment that has brought me to this place of resolution. See, I love my house. And I love my family. And I love every single happy and ambivalent moment I spent there. I love that my grandfather designed it and built it. I love my memories of holidays celebrated there, all the years I had with my Gran, all of the things I made there with my mom, the animals we had, the way the woods looks when it snows, the red-tailed hawks that nest there, the foxes, and the colts that play in the neighbor’s field every spring. I remember all of the drawings I did by the fireplace while Gran and I watched The Young and the Restless. I remember the games I made up and my playhouse, and the black snake that lived in the shed for years. I remember mom and I taking care of our goat, and picking blackberries. I remember so many wonderful, wonderful things.

But I also remember the terrible things. The fear I felt, the anxiety, the shame…consequences of deeds done when I was too little, or later, too helpless to stop it. The house was the witness and there were times I hated her for betraying me. Why did she let those people in? Why did she ever let them stay so long? I’d thought we’d had an understanding. I loved her, and she’d protect me, shelter me, as any good house should. But in they came, slipping in through the cracks the way the mice and salamanders do. And it seemed she could not stop it.

But it’s a house, you may be saying. Isn’t this blame just a tad misplaced?

Of course. But when you are young, you blame the constant, because the constant won’t leave you. I had some constants, and regrettably, I blamed them all. The house was no exception.

I have since made peace with my constants, recognizing now that even the things that would never choose to leave you, will, in fact, one day have to leave you. Knowing this, it seems silly to waste even one moment ever being bitter.

So, I have forgiven the house. And I am pardoned for ever being so angry at her. I can not erase what we saw and felt there, and I no longer need to try. I will simply do what one does in a house. I will make things, and write music, and read, and sleep. When we want to go south, we will take what we need and go for a while, then we will come back to her. When we want to go to the desert, we will leave what is not essential and we will go for a while, then we will come back to her again. We understand each other now, and I am ready to live there once again.

Plus, you know…the zombie thing.

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