There are current events. There is aging. The slow disintegration of things like my joints, the thinning of my skin, and the knowledge that my life is no longer an unfolding adventure stretching out in front of me, but instead is a diminishing little mound of sand in an hourglass.

I think about what is behind me, and then the ever smaller measure of what is in front of me, and what do I do? I walk around my house and look at everything. The house is a museum-a repository of all the things that I have lovingly saved during my life. Photos of my kids, doing kid-like things, looking enthusiastic and tiny. Now they are facing their own middle age. I have cleared the fridge of their artwork, but now there is a picture my grandson drew. The “circle of life.” It’s comforting.

I love it in here. It is my retreat, my safe place. It anchors everything that I do. I write here. Read here. Nothing is more wonderful that going to bed early with my husband and lying under the ceiling fan,  enjoying the orange walls and the huge windows–listening to podcasts. I hear dogs barking outside, cars swishing by, cicadas thrumming, and I feel secure in here. Untouchable.

We spend our whole lives collecting tokens to remember places, events, and people. Then we curate them in our homes, placing them in pleasing arrangements. We look at them as we pass, perhaps smiling with a private memory. Or we bless them as we dust.

By the time we are past retirement, no longer hurrying out of the house to spend hours in offices, studios, or cubbyholes, we stay home. We do our “work” in the kitchen, chopping and dicing.  We turn spare bedrooms into “home offices,” where we Google things. We vacuum more frequently, and we don’t mind  folding laundry in the basement. Beds are changed more often. Windowsills are places for resting our hands as we gaze out at the lawn.

This building isn’t just my home any more. It has taken on a significance that I can’t clearly explain. This is a monument to the life I have lived. It is my own personal museum.

There is peace inside these walls.


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