I’ve always known our house and yard had its own special spirit. We’re only the second set of folks to live here, you know. The man who built this place in 1940 and the family he raised here with his wife were the folks we bought it from. At 97, Mrs. Kochaver could no longer live alone and so she went to live with her son in CA.
Peaches found the house, did I ever tell that story? G got Peaches when she was renting a little house just a few blocks away, before we got together. When I came over to hang out, she kept telling me about how they walked to the park down the street and Peaches kept running to this house, going under the gate and sitting on the back porch, so that G had to go into the yard and take her out. She never saw the owners of the house, didn’t know who they were, but couldn’t seem to keep Peaches out of the yard. I wasn’t familiar with this neighborhood before I lived here, so one day I told G to take me to this alleged park. We walked the few blocks down the street where she showed me the house that Peaches seemed so attracted to. We had just begun our discussions about living together, whether we wanted to and if we thought renting or buying might be better. There on the corner lot, was a For Sale sign. G said it hadn’t been there the last time she walked down here. I said she should just call and see what they wanted for it, why not? So she did, and we went to see the house, and talked to the broker, and well, 10 years on and here we are.
Mr. Kochaver died about 15 years before his wife sold the house. He worked for the mill–a metal worker and tinkerer. He made the long bank of wooden cabinets I face as I sit here typing and he made the hinges, etc. as well. There are so many unique things about this little house that have become so precious to us. Sometimes, we can still catch a whiff of his scented pipe tobacco in odd moments, so we know that every now and then he comes to check on us. I think overall, he’s pretty happy.
But there are other, larger spirits here. Our yard and gardens flourish when others seem to be pulling back. Our produce is bigger and somehow more vibrant than other things we either buy or might swap with other gardeners. It’s not a brag, just an observation. Part of it is our tending to the dirt and G’s continuous work and love that she pours into it. But I know it’s also more than that. Our genius loci, the protective spirit of this place is always on the lookout for us.
About two years ago, I started getting an occasional comment here and there from a man I didn’t know at all but whose path crossed mine during the time when I briefly did a monthly piece for the “A World of Progress” and later “Our Big Gayborhood Blogs”. Curious, as nearly 99% of my comments/readers are women, I checked out his blog. I liked the way he wrote and the way he thought. He was a little (okay, a lot) more outspoken than I was on a number of topics, but we definitely had a number of the similar feelings on a lot of issues. Then I noticed he had an “Art” tab. I clicked it and fell in love. He’s not an “artist”, he says. I beg to differ. I get a lot of images in my head. I see things mentally, colors, scenes, faces, etc. I have never been able to get them out of me in a pictoral kind of way. I do the best I can with words. I can’t tell you how I envy those folks who can work with light, shadow, color. Trust me, this guy is an artist.
As I paged through his work, I saw one that simply left me breathless. I knew I had to have it. Interestingly, it was the one figure piece amongst the abstracts. I knew then that our genius loci had to come home.
I contacted him and he was helpful and kind and oh, so patient when my ability to pay for his work kept getting pushed back. Finally, not too long ago, the stars aligned, Paypal worked, and in nearly no time, I had a package waiting for me one morning:
Fortunately, though large, she was light. G wasn’t home, so I got it in and unwrapped the first layer:
Are you getting antsy yet? I was! So, I rushed to get her out of the rest of her clothes:
She replaced my print of an 1868 woodblock print of an aerial view of Edinburgh, one of my favorite placed on earth, so you know she’s in a place of honor. I can’t stop looking at her. For me, she absolutely embodies the spirit of our place here. Calm, peaceful, completely at home, yet so powerful and energetic underneath. Interestingly, when I saw the photo on Jay’s site, the background looked turquoise. But when I saw the deep, watery blue that it actually is, I was even more entranced. The way that the figure floats on the background, the serenity of her features, is exactly how I feel when I’m in the water. Just amazing.
Inside and out, I know she’ll be watching over us for a long time to come. Thanks, my friend!