Wednesday, June 17, 2009

God Bless Curtis

Four years ago today, we came to live in this house by the water. Four great and interesting years. We bought it from a man named Curtis, and (Forgive me, Curtis, if you ever read this.) the transaction was hair raising. Because Curtis didn't want to move.

He'd lived here for 18 years. Bought the house when it was sold for taxes. Slowly, painstakingly, fixed it up and made it beautiful. But he wanted to bring his parents to live with him and this wasn't the house for that. He'd accepted our offer -- which we made about five minutes after our first visit -- and eventually, all his doubts and regrets were overcome, more by the steamroller of real estate procedure, than any real acquiescence to actually leaving. He's a good, kind man. And this was his home.

The house not only has a lot of very nice and thoughtful features, it also comes with a truly magnificent (and let's speak truth) demanding, exhausting garden. The backyard is, no kidding, water, but the front yard is land aplenty. Nice bones, cool specimen trees, pretty perennials that even our ground hogs can't eat all of. Curtis designed and planted it, and he knew what he was doing. It's a different world from the water at our backs. The best of both. We had a dinner guest once who asked me, "Do you ever think maybe you don't deserve all of this?" And I answered, "All the time."

Which comes to the roses. Curtis told me he'd always wanted a rose garden. So now we have one. Bill feeds them. I prune them. But Curtis planted them. Whenever I look at them, or at so many of the wonderful features of this place, I say "God Bless Curtis." And I mean it from my heart.

The Zen people have a saying, "The glass is already broken." I don't have much of a grasp of Zen thought, but I believe this means that in the creation of everything -- every thing -- are the seeds of its destruction. That everything that exists now will, at some point, not exist anymore. That the glass will have changed into something else and be gone. I also don't think the Zen people are being gloomy or resigned. That's not their way as far as I can tell. What they're saying to me is, "Enjoy the glass! Drink from it. Hold it up to the light. Feel the cool smoothness of it in your hand. Use it now in the knowledge of its impermanence, and your joy in it will be enhanced."

You can see where this is going. Someday this house will be gone. No question. Hopefully it will be hundreds of years. But realistically, all houses will have to go sometime before the sun burns out. (Especially houses that are built on The Brink of the Wrath of God.) And even before the house goes, we will. Hopefully not for hundreds of years, and hopefully feet first, but some day, probably before the sun burns out, we'll be outta here.

So the new people. (I hate them already.) will come. Hopefully the promise of impermanence will intensify our joy in this time and not degrade into the fear and sorrow of impending loss. And hopefully we will have been stewards of this place, and the joy of this place, such that the new people will love the things and the spirit that we leave.

And say, "God Bless Bill & Ann."

Happy Anniversary, House.

God bless you, Curtis. This bud's for you.

June 17, 2009

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