Friday, August 20, 2010
Stepping Over the Past at Home
An engineer came to our house last weekend to draw up construction plans for our renovation. He talked about taking down walls and digging through floors to get support posts in the ground then patching it all up so no one would know the room had been touched. It got me thinking about all the other walls and floors in our home that have ‘been touched’ during the 130 years it has stood here.
I think the stone slab at our front door would perhaps be the oldest, least touched feature of our home. I love that it’s not level having been worn away by the many feet and pairs of shoes that have entered the house over more than a century.
Yes, it creates a draught under the door and we can hear the wind whistling through but I could spend hours thinking about what that stone has witnessed: warm welcomes; tearful farewells; newborns in arms; babies crawling, toddling, stumbling over inside; children leaving in school shoes for the first time; stiletto heels wobbling in after a night out; banished drunken husbands sitting on it, arguments ending with the front door slamming over it and perhaps (hopefully) embraces in the middle of it.
Has this stone slab seen wives farewelling their husbands off to both World Wars? Or mothers farewelling sons? Has it witnessed tragic, dreadful news delivered at the front door? There have certainly been flowers left lying on it for both happy and sad times, likewise brown paper parcels sent from countries far away. And just think of all the Christmas trees carried over it leaving a sprinkling of pine needles difficult to sweep up thanks to the stone’s aged unevenness.
Who would have thought a piece of stone could do so much to capture the imagination?