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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Home the Land Built: Week 5

There’s just so much of it.  I wonder how I missed it, that great moving mass just outside the bank of windows.   An ocean, extending as far as I dare see, full of creatures beyond count.  Three years ago, when we asked Architect Paul to design a house which “enabled the Connection”, inviting the outside-in and the inside-out, I was often imagining a view to the land:  waving grass, grazing deer, the first green flush of leaves.  Well, Paul did his job all right.  Home the Land Built is connecting me  to something I never really imagined.  How did I ever miss the sky?
The sky?!!!  Not that I didn’t see the sky, but until just this week, it seemed more like the glazing in a window, something to look through not at.   Invisible as it is, why start “seeing” it now? 
Maybe it’s the wind.  The small orange flags---markers for the 25 white spruce trees and 50 hazelnut bushes we just planted---flapping as they point like dancers where the wind is going.  The white gutter downspout rolling across the green lawn.  The extra few chunks of wood I stack into the masonry heater when the wind swipes its cold hand across the bank of windows.  The invitation (or not) to rise from this yoga loft chair and open the door onto the porch:  what mood of the wind will greet me (or retreat me)? 
Maybe it’s the clouds.  I’m almost embarrassed to admit how much I’ve learned about clouds by descending into the windowless bowels of our house, the cellar.  Just two little gauges:  the solar electric (Mate3) and the solar hot water (SunMaxx).  Sure, when its noon and not a cloud in the sky, the Mate 3, says the PV panels are cranking out 2700 watts and the SunMaxx says the solar hot water panels is getting hot (170F and rising fast).  What amazes me is the difference a cloudy day produces. Even through a solid grey bank, the Mate 3 brags the PV is producing 500 watts, enough to power our house for an entire day.    Always honest, the SunMaxx confesses that the solar hot water panels are languishing (85F), not nearly enough to heat the 80 gallon storage tank for cleaning our soiled dishes and bodies.  So now, when I step out under the cloud cover, I feel this difference.  I’m a plant, a blade of Indian grass, sighing as I turn toward this diffused light, this light that is enough to feed me, fueling the alchemy which turns thin air into me.  Yet I’m a summer loving grass and I’m cold.  There’s no heat in this light.  The clouds have stolen it to make more of themselves out of thin air.  How greedy!
Mostly I think it’s the birds.  Oh glorious bird!  Crow flap, flap, flapping nearly to the window.  Hovers then suddenly drops, pounces and pecks at globs of mud which turn into fist-sized bunnies scurrying for their lives.  Meadowlark announcing the morning from his post, then relinquishing it to blackbird who fluffs his red wings and trills.  Oak-a-lee!  “That’s how its done,” he says to meadowlark.  Its not like I hadn’t seen birds before.  At 4140 we loved to watch them.  14 cardinals shining in the snow at dusk.  But here, where there the trees are so far away and there’s so much tall grass to hide in what I see, what I thrill at, is birds flying, flying, flying.  There is so much sky. 
An ocean and I’m in it.  The wind is the current.  The rolling clouds and the many shades of blue is the unreachable surface high overhead.  And the birds, oh glorious bird, you are fish.  Singing whale.  Leaping dolphin.  Twisting school of flashing jewels.  I spread my arms and reach skyward, toward the dream.

And I sit by Paul’s bank of windows, inviting the outside-in and the inside out.  What could be more connecting?  The ocean of sky, the very same sky out those windows, fills Home the Land Built as she rises from the yielding floor.  The sky bathes me.  Breathes me.  The thin air ignites the fire that turns the earth into me.   
Thank you Paul!  I always wanted to live by the sea, only to discover that I always did.  In it actually.  Now I wonder one thing.  What, as I wander the thriving floor of this wondrous ocean, am I?
One thing for sure:  I’m a lucky man.  Rah-dur!

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