This is going to be one of those woo-woo shit kinds of posts, so if you don’t like those or if you should be at church anyway, you might want to skip.
I remain, as ever, a hopeful polytheist. I don’t know how one knows for certain that she isn’t just telling herself some stories that allow her to feel like she’s connected into some universal flow, but aren’t actually true. But I still choose to throw my lot in with the stories and the characters, in every sense of the word, that we find there.
And, I have to say that two things make me feel as if it’s not just my brain making stories up to tell me so that I can sleep at night. One is the easily refutable just that it feels real to me and that my life has… not exactly improved… let’s not say that. Let’s say that it has become infinitely easier for me to live now that I’ve settled into the beliefs I’ve settled into.
For me, and I would guess for many people, Christianity is like a scratchy sweater. Many folks find they can do without sweaters all together. I have found a sweater that fits me.
But the second is that when I go to my ancestors for advice and guidance, they often tell me things that make no sense to me or are things I don’t particularly want to hear, things I find confusing or frightening. If I were telling myself a story, I feel like I know the kinds of stories about me I’d want to hear.
And you, my friends, have been reading me long enough to know the kinds of stories I’d like to tell about myself to myself–that I’m desireable and desired by everyone, that I will never struggle, that I deserve good things, etc. etc. etc.
So, anyway, yesterday I was all out of sorts, all day, just pissed and depressed about the house thing, convinced that every house in my price range is going to have some problems so severe as to render them unbuyable by me.
Which, you know, pisses me off. Having my own house is a right goal, I thought/think. The Old Man recommends it. Economists recommend it. I want it. Etc. So, why does my Fortune on the house-hunting thing seem so slightly off?
I went Over to complain. Why aren’t my Folks helping this thing happen?
I got laughed at.
Maybe I should have tried to stick with immediate family, but they’re all, with the exception of my Uncle B., who is too curious about how it All works to stay put, off with the rest of the Christians and my Uncle B. seems to feel that things are going how they should. He also lets his dog sit at the family table, so… take that for what it’s worth. In the afterlife, my folks are still spoiling their pets.
But, so, I went higher up the food chain, to Women who have homes themselves–Fensalir, Sokkvabekk, Folkvangr, Thrymheim, and on.
And I sat with one of them, who wasn’t too busy to see me, and they said that, yes, they’d heard of my strange quest to own a house. Did I not know that houses burn down? That they crumble? That they can be destroyed and some other building set in its place?
It is not about the house. It is about the land.
Land is. Houses come and go. Land is.
When I came back, I was all like “What the hell? Land? Duh, I’m going to have some land if I have a house.” But then I look at the places these Women live again–Land of Uproar, Folk-plain, Sunken-benches, Marsh Hall–and each place is a place. It’s not just a building, but it is about the land as well.
I may not have been considerate enough of that, as of yet.
I’ve never been one to interpret stories well, but it seems to me that they might be suggesting you have to tolerate a smaller place in the “right” part of town. We’ll solve the storage problems later.
. . . land’s the only thing in the world worth working for, worth fighting for, worth dying for, because it’s the only thing that lasts.
— Gerald O’Hara to Scarlett in Gone With The Wind
Maybe you should buy a bag of potting soil until you can adjust to the bigger scheme. Ease into things.
The land more than anything else holds the memory of those who came before. There’s a wisdom in land that exists beyond boards and paint.
Given the history of the house that just didn’t happen it’s possible that the Fortune (as you would put it) or spirit (as I would put it) of those folks had tainted the soil–the land–of that house.
It makes sense that your women spoke to you of the land, because the land is the feminine. It is the place where things grow, where new life is nurtured. I firmly believe in shopping for the land. I have woo-wooy tales of our purchase of land with our house, but let me just say I understand.
I think it’s interesting that what you loved about the house that didn’t happen (the hearth and the window to light in the kitchen) were the feminine qualities of the home. The Epona and the Friga. What was wrong with the house were the male qualities–the roof (the Lugh and the Thor) and the air.
Your divinities are at war, it seems, with your feminine divines asserting themselves against the masculine. (Pardon my insertion of Celtic dieties, which may or may not be in your pantheon but are part of the sense of craft as I know it.)
Now, the Christian in me would phrase all of this a different way, even though I believe it comes from the same sort of place–the rift that happens with the male and female portions of whichever divinity (ies) you believe in are at war.
Kat, that’s very insightful.
Hate to follow Kat….but, if I may stumble through with my own take on this “message.”
I think you got half a message. It seems to me, whether one gets their guidance from beyond or above, we are frequently given it in bits and pieces, like a puzzle.
I say that for this reason…when you come to own land, that is, as much as we can ever “own” anything, the sense of responsibility can be staggering. I really admire people who “just seem to know” what can be done with a piece of land…what the potential is, what it needs to get there. Or, even, what it needs to just continue “being.”
When I’m able, I walk around my own property and get overwhelmed by the amount of life in and around it, how many life forms depend on what it offers. I constantly battle my own desires to have it be what I want it to be, rather than what it is. This, I think, is where size truly does matter. There are fields here, pastures, i suppose, where we grow hay and this year a portion will be used to grow sorghum. Above that part, are a few acres that are overrun with thistle and briar, and, in that state, it is, at least on the surface, not of much use. To me.
To the rabbit, deer, turkey,snakes, coyotes, hawks and countless others it is perfectly useful, if not indispensable.
My need for order reveals itself in the neat lines and contoured edges of a recently mowed lawn…but, in that state, it provides no cover for the small game, and, therefore, no support system for the rest of the creatures that were here before me, and will be here when I am gone.
I am merely a caretaker. If i choose, i can overwhelm this property and beat it back and level it out until I shape it into what I think i need. But, in the end, the tiny weeds will eventually get it back. this year, next year, in a hundred years, but they will get it back.
So, (whew) all of this is to say that merely holding title to land is easy. But the boards and paint, the male roof and the female hearth are really easy to build and maintain by comparison. In fact, far too many people over-spend on these things, and never factor in what it costs to keep land healthy.
I’m sure the spirits who reside on this land spend a great deal of time laughing at my attempts to control more than i am able….I hope they know I just want to make it better than i found it.
The connection to the land itself makes sense to me. The rhythms of the place I am from beat in my pulse. When I’m far away for any length of time, I find myself always waiting as though for the sound of a voice I can no longer hear.
My family is literally made of the land of our ancestral homestead. For generations we raised almost all of our own food on it and of it. During the Great Depression, when others were having fewer children for fear of not being able to feed them, my father’s generation was large and thriving. Clothes might be iffy, but good food they had, because it came from the land itself. And that has imprinted definite effects upon us, among other things iron teeth that average one cavity per lifetime.
You want to grow things, you said, so paying attention to the land itself makes sense, the soil, the water, the light patterns, and so on. Houses, as you said, are temporary, but the earth you will be growing things in is much less so.
Squirrel Queen! You crack me up.
Coble, I hear you. And, yeah, that is useful to me to think about, not just in terms of what happened with that house, but in terms of what I’m looking for and why certain houses feel good to me and others don’t. Hmm. I’m going to be thinking on that.
Yeah, Mack, but/and don’t you see how envious I am of you in that regard? Not that I want to work as hard as you do! Shoot, I don’t even want to do my dishes. But I want to come to know and think about a place the way you think about your place.
I love Helen’s observation that she is literally made out of the land of of her people.
And that’s what I feel happening to you and I’m jealous.
I don’t think the kind of land that will make me feel that way will look like your land. But right now, I don’t know for sure what it will look like. I feel like I have to go try on some places.
And that back yard, at the house that didn’t work out, that gave me a sense of what I should be aiming for.
Well, then, that’s what that house was for, for you. To give you an idea about what would make you happy in a place. That’s not a bad job for a house to have, especially one that doesn’t sound like it would be all that good to live in right now.
Pingback: Don’t Fence Me In « Tiny Cat Pants