I think I may have mentioned something here about buying a house. Well, we’re gonna do it. It’s not perfect, but it has some of the things I like (small yard, fireplace, natural wood) so we’re going to do it. This will be the fourth house we’ve owed to the bank for.
Our first was back in Schenectady, a lovely bungalow with a front porch on a quiet side-street. Our second was a mistake. I moved to Wisconsin to start work well before our Schenectady house had sold–and when it did we ended up losing money, ’cause the economy sucked that year–and I was tasked with finding The Ideal House with a very limited budget and, thanks to my job, limited time. I found a house, but it was hardly ideal, and from day 1 my spouse planned to get us out of it.
So a few years later, we built a house. It was a basic white ranch with a nice big garage, bamboo floors, a workshop with extra power outlets and a sink(!). Lots of space. And it was our first house with a fireplace (real, wood-burning). But then things changed again and we moved to Connecticut.
The house we’re buying is almost 100 years old, and feels comfortable. We’ll see. But what’s really nice is, it’s a bit farther from my work, so I get a longer ride. And if I want to, I can ride along the reservoir that (to my mind, anyway) divides Spring Glen from Whitneyville. Today, for lunch, I treated myself to such a ride, along Waite Street, and I realized again (see my posts on Chickens in the Neighborhood and The Slow Spark of High-Wheeled Boys) that there are things you see from a bike that you don’t get to see from a car. Like, swans:
This pair was swimming right along the southern side of the bridge on Waite Street. Another pair was out on the north side.
I would never have seen these beautiful birds if I had been driving. And to think that I’m going to be living just a few blocks away from this place.
Greater New Haven can seem very tight, very crowded–especially after Wisconsin. But it’s beautiful, too. In fact, my spouse and I were discussing the other day how each place we’ve lived has been more beautiful than the last.
I’d like to think that’s because we take the time to look, though perhaps we’re just extraordinarily fortunate. Or perhaps because by the time we move, we’ve begun to take that beauty for granted. I hope it’s not the latter!
Look around you–there is beauty to be found. Leonard Cohen writes in “Suzanne”:
Now Suzanne takes your hand
And she leads you to the river
She is wearing rags and feathers
From Salvation Army counters
And the sun pours down like honey
On our lady of the harbour
And she shows you where to look
Among the garbage and the flowers
There are heroes in the seaweed
There are children in the morning…
Drink it in. Notice it. Breath.
Update: Over on the BOB list (ask if you don’t know) someone posted a couple of links that seem relevant to this post, though I had not read them before. This link and that link. They don’t take long.