I walk across the hardwood floors feeling the dip of the wood under weight, hear the gentle squeeze caused by edges closing the spaces between the slats. My aged and worn moccasins splitting at the seams are thin enough that I can feel each crevice, each beginning and ending of each slat, but I put them on each day as protection and warmth.
My house is old and new – a foundation and frame built in 1900 with everything else put in place ten years ago. This place has an old soul having stayed in place making only minor shifts, expansions and contractions, with each passing season. This old woman has a crawl space with a large stone and wooden post logged centrally reaching upward to touch the sky and remants of canning are evident on the crossbeams.
Despite the surface trappings of modernity, the dishwasher, the fresh paint, and the furniture, I feel the agedness of this house and me. There is no secondary sound of children’s voices, no rush to prepare meals, no hovering thoughts of young minds and managing behaviours. My sons are gone, but my father remains with us. His breathing is laboured now, his lower jaw often hanging open as he leans slightly forward, shoulders rounded, to pull the air inside his bony frame. Time is here and evident in the presence and absence of everyone and everything.
Yet,my daughter, held back in development by a seizure disorder, walks about my home as if defying time. She has not aged with us and is developmentally still young, still a child. She walks the length of the living room looking vacantly in no particular direction, sometimes squinting for no apparent reason, and pausing to slide past objects in her path. She exists between worlds; the one of conscious awareness and the one of dreams. Sometimes I think she is so lucky, this beautiful soul who fills the space of my home.