How to Have a House

Living with and understanding a home.


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No need to panic, it’s just winter.

We had quite a cold front blow in this week.  It was 76 degrees one day and 28 the next.  That’s a pretty quick cool down for a whole region.  I’d like to say everyone was caught off guard, but not really, it’s been getting cold, every fall around here, for, probably hundreds of thousands of years.  Admittedly, it got cold early, but in the grand scheme of a hemisphere, what’s a few weeks.  What a lot of people around here did get caught with was, their garden hose still screwed to the spigot, maybe an electric power washer was out too. A lot of tomatoes and melons are on the vine. Decorative water features, tropical house plants on the patios and potted annuals all felt the sting of sudden freeze.  Not deep and hard, but biting and first of the season.

This is why I love seasons.  Living in one house or at least in one city for decades at a time,  instills a sense of perceived predictability, in an environment of potential chaos.  It has snowed here on Halloween. Heavily. And boy did that thin out some tree limbs.  Like ants, one simple swipe of the finger across that invisible line of pheromones and we’re scrambling like crazy.  Trees down, too much snow, ice on the roads that cant’ be conquered by the best of anti-lock brakes, it makes us nuts.  A lot of other animals living in the region watch with wonder. Bears sleep through it. Some birds desert the area and fly south way before things even think about getting weird. Other birds feed hard when the sun is out, and hunker down when it’s blowing. Squirrels never stop digging and eating, year round rodents, dressed in a cute fur outfit.  No schedule, no bosses at work.  Year after year.  Season, following season, like casual visitors, arriving on their own relaxed schedules, the elements and creatures of the natural world live around our houses.

If I could have a house in one other place in America it would be the tip of southeast Florida, right on the water. Something simple, a pushbutton, glass and poly, future-rama of ease and comfort. Some place where I could walk out every day, to 85 degrees and a three foot break, landing on the sandy shore, below a gentle sun.  I know, that’s Miami and even if I had a million dollars it’s still not enough.

Besides, imagine all the hurricanes, tidal waves, more hurricanes and, alligators eating house cats.  Could be that dreamy future-rama house has season of it’s own too.