Monday, October 27, 2014

Someone's Home

I have to make rules for myself, like don’t pull over along the side of the road to take photographs unless there is a safe place to stop and park; and don’t enter abandoned buildings by myself.  Well, this morning I cheated a little bit.  I have been mildly obsessed with this abandoned farm house for nearly six years.  In summer it becomes overgrown and is lost from view and in winter it stands out among the dormant trees, blatant and bare.  In autumn, it begins to emerge, and this morning I saw it in full for the first time this season.  It is visible again. 


So just to be clear, there was a safe place to pull off the road, the vestiges of a driveway, and I did not actually go inside.  But I did approach it closely and walk around until my protective conscience overtook me once more.


As I approached the structure and began to see inside, which is completely exposed, doors and windows long disappeared; I realized that I had no expectations as to what its inner portion would reveal.  And even though I had not imagined this space, its decay took me by surprise. 




A decaying house was at one time someone’s home; it is in this that I am captivated.  Home, comfort, safety and success, hard work and rest; home is shelter.  A structure that marked achievement, now it marks things that are past, it has become a record rather than a respite. 



Intimate like a chair to the form of the body is the space of the home to our soul.



Akin to chairs, houses are my structural obsession.  Home is the container in which we live out our most private and intimate moments, and it holds the succession of regular moments that come together to form our private life experience.  The experience of home is the one most influential in our early lives, and the place that we long to establish as we grow.  As adults we make the transition from being inhabitants of a home into the proprietors of home; the makers of experience. 



And while home can mark triumph it can also mark tragedy.  A decaying home speaks to the loss that home can be, safety compromised, dreams disappointed. 



The exploration of something abandoned feeds the wanderlust in me and a desire to experience meaning in place.  When I look at this place I want to see its glory, I want to assume glory was once here.  And yet I don’t know.  So ultimately it leaves me to my own mind and my own questions.  It becomes an open book that invites new stories and a platform for new meaning. 

With gratitude,
Joanna



2 comments:

  1. "Intimate like a chair to the form of the body is the space of the home to our soul." Wow, is that beautiful! I think the same things when I see old homes- wanting to know more about their stories is actually what first drew me to a love of history. I'm jonesing to do some research on this place now! :) P.S. Remind me to tell you about another old house you would love.

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    1. Oh yes, I would love to learn more about this place...and another one...am I sensing a series ;)

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