This is an old coal chute outside our home. It's majestic, as you can plainly see. Our home has been around a long time and it's had to adjust its heating source three times over the years. First it was heated with coal, then oil, and now there are a couple of boilers to do the job.
I like to think of my home's history and all of the people who have lived here over the many years. In the short time since we purchased it I think there have been over 20 people coming and going. Maybe closer to 25, but I've lost count. There's life everywhere and there's always something new to discover. It's an old, creaking home that needs many repairs we can't afford, but it's perfect in all the ways that matter.
I think of all of the emotion that has haunted these walls, strong enough at times to glow in the woodwork: love, anger, sadness, peace, anxiety, contentment, restlessness, fatigue, excitement, curiosity. They emanate from the radiators and bang on the pipes like friendly ghosts. Sometimes I swear a vapor of old emotion passes through my skin and curls up in my heart to rest for a while. There are memories at home here that are not mine, traveling easily from room to room like a draft under a door. I'm content to let them stay. They like this place too.
I imagine the first owner, shoveling coal on a cold winter day like this. He is covered in coal dust as he enters from the back door, but he doesn't mind. He hangs his wool coat on a hook in the hallway and washes his hands and face until the black water runs clear. He warms himself with a cup of coffee and some bread just out of the oven. He listens to the sounds throughout the house, the chattering and laughter filling his body. He is quiet and grateful. I know this man. He reminds me of someone who is sleeping as I type this. Someone warm and strong and close.
I'm glad for all of the life here, past and present, for every soul who has called this place home. Their memories are safe here. I'm glad to be in this spacious place with so much room for my heart.