We decided to take down a wall, vault the ceiling, and name the new, blended space The Colloquium–a place for talking, for listening, for conversation. This is our hope.
I grew up in this house. Did you know that? We moved here when I was just over two–about the age Elvie Kay is now. About the age Anselm was when Jeremy and I moved back here. I was homeschooled here, and it is safe to say that I know this house very well.
One of the perpetually frustrating features of the house was the wall diving the main living areas. It was (I assume) the typical formal living/informal living division that was common in houses of this vintage. But since we were hardly a formal family, we tried to spread our furniture and living needs across the two halves of the house. It meant instead that someone was always unfairly sequestered away from the rest of the family.
He was five years old and he could barely contain his disappointment as he stood there, barefoot, in the path between the garden rows. One older brother already had his hands in the dirt, and one little brother was busy making sure his sister wasn’t digging any seeds out of the dirt. I was pulling baby tomato plants out and laying them out to check the spacing. I didn’t look up from my work, but I could see his feet, and I could hear his voice. He has asked what reward there will be for helping with planting, and he’s been told by his father there will be none.
He wasn’t happy with that answer.
Wilting spearmint, an almost-finished cup of coffee, a stray apple, and the two-year-old who’s after it. She’s already eaten an apple this morning, so I won’t let her eat another, yet. She’s contented herself, instead, with peeling off the stickers and placing them on herself.
For the last half-hour I have sat in the oversized easy chair and nursed the baby–the baby that now contorts himself every which way instead of lying contentedly against my chest. A friend said recently that nursing a baby boy is like trying to nurse an alligator. I wrangle him, and Elvie brings me apples until I tell her to stop. Then she brings me “abocados” instead.
I plant seeds in the garden, and then spend the next several days anxiously walking up and down the rows, looking for signs of life.
I am watching for seedlings, but I’m not watching for seedlings, because—as Tolkien observed through his created people, the Elves—the eyes of mankind is always “thinking of something else” , and that “they look at no thing for itself; that if they study it, it is to discover something else […] because it reminds them of some other clearer thing”*; because of the truth of Romans 1:20. I am wandering the garden path, and my mind wanders with it.