The Spaces we Make

A house is bought; a home is created.
With time spent adding details – hanging a wreath, a photo; installing drapes in your favorite color; spilling paint that never quite comes clean; planting a garden. With arguments, mishaps, and accidents. With holidays and family gatherings; birthdays, anniversaries, accomplishments, and home-cooked meals.
Life makes your house a home.

My horse and I arrived at our new house on a sunny, Friday afternoon in late summer. The redwood trees soaked up the warmth and filtered down to us their sweet, relaxing scent.
My horse was content, with food, water, shelter, and companionship.
I held expectations – at arm’s length – but still I held them, heavy. My house was not ready to live in yet, a fact I had known going in, but still left me aching in a rift. Moved, but not moved in. A house, with walls, roof, electricity, and plumbing, but not a home.
That week I set to work, with help, to spackle, sand, and paint the walls. To vacuum and lay down hardwood flooring. To repair the light fixtures and move in the refrigerator. The week I had expected turned into two, three, four weeks.
I drifted in the rift, shifting from anxiety, to impatience, to understanding, to acceptance.
We installed kitchen cabinets, a sink, and drapes to cover the windows. We moved in furniture.
At last, I spent my first night.
Lights out. Silence. My cabin in the woods. Perfect.
The fridge, so close in the small space, switched on its cooling cycle. I opened my eyes. Okay, that’s alright. Just think of it as a white noise machine, I told myself.
I tried to drift off to sleep.
The fridge shut off and a quiet tinking, blurbling continued from it.
On. Off… On. Off…
The next night, the noises of the fridge seemed slightly less bothersome. I slept until very early in the morning, when a new sound woke me.
At first I thought it must be raining, as a slow, regular dripping sounded outside my bedroom window. I peered through the curtains into the darkness. No, not raining.
I climbed back into bed and pulled the covers up over my ears. I would investigate at a more reasonable time of day.
I found that the old water heater, which wasn’t working anyway, was now also leaking. I turned the water valve off and the insistent dripping slowly subsided.
I sighed. Getting hot water was going to take longer than I had expected.
And I realized, there I was, still holding those heavy expectations. They were fewer now, but still there.

One week of restless nights that slowly became more restful and then I suddenly realized I was no longer hearing the the fridge go on, off, on, off. The sound had passed into the background. It was normal. Part of my, dare I say it? My home.