N. Pirie - Heliotropism
It was a mid-summer afternoon, the windows were down, and she was relaxing in the passenger seat, head tilted back into the headrest; her short, dark hair tossed about in the wind, and the faintest of smiles stretched across her lips as her head rolled to the side and into the light and warmth that beat down upon our car. When the sun is out, sunflowers will follow its rays in search of sustenance, so too does she—for comfort, the feeling on her skin, and the way it warms up those chronically cold bones.
All the light I had ever known gently cradled her face and seemed to pull at her, raising her beyond the typical places she dwells, calling her to another plane. Alas, there always seem to be those things that hold us back. In this case, a seatbelt and a phone call.
They say it is not love that causes a sunflower to follow the sun, it’s just a natural process of growth—heliotropism, or some such terse, scientific concept. But I’ve seen a sunflower turn to the east to await a sun that would never rise again, and I saw heartache, loss, and petals learning to live in the dark.
There is something particular about this house: an invitation, tied not to place but to people.
You see, it is a beautiful house.
From the curb, it presents with a wrap-around, covered porch, and it takes but a pair of eyes to recognize a space so idyllic that you immediately delve into fantasy: a coffee and a blanket on a cold autumn day with a selection of quality literature piled beside you—dealer’s choice. It is enchanting, so much so that when I think about the front of this house, my mind barely makes it past the front porch, and I often forget about the sunroom tucked behind the shrubbery.
All this, yet today was the first time I walked through the front door or had even been out on the front porch, for that matter.
Here, front doors and porches seem to be for strangers, not even the mail.
It is one of those old houses with the creaks and groans that make a house a home; with beautiful wooden and stone features throughout the top two levels; with a cellar you would rather not spend any time in at all; with a finicky water filter ready to ruin an evening; with the kind of staircase you could imagine peeking through as a child, looking longingly at the world beyond your bedtime confines; with a kitchen that makes you wish you were a better chef; with a driveway you wouldn’t even hate shovelling; with gardens of colourful growth and wooden faces hidden in trees; with two and a half out-buildings (long story don’t ask) that have become storage for impractically heavy objects, spiders and their webs, creeping or crawling critters, tiny skeletons, and live ammunition; with a fire pit for bringing people together at the end of a perfect day; with all the people you love.
One of those old houses.
Last night was a dark night in all literal and figurative senses, but the most curious light shone out from the woods beyond the field behind the house.
Two figures approached and addressed us; she was soft and gentle, a wealth of pleasant conversation and comforting stories; he was reminiscent and blessed with elixirs.
The people you need to see will find you in the most peculiar places.
I got out of the pool, drying off with a starchy towel pulled from the bottom of a linen closet. I sat beside her, under the umbrella, in the shade. She was watching her nieces play in the pool, holding her gaze as if she was afraid to break it. I stayed only long enough to notice the one thing that did break her concentration.
From the top side of the pool, a four-legged Bagel noticed her hiding spot and began swinging his tail in excited loops, as if trying to propel himself to her faster, while keeping a cautious eye on the edge of patio and the water below. When he made it within range, he jumped his front half into her lap, seeking affection and warmth from his sun that would never set.
Home is the loving feeling of space.
There is no singular, physical location; home is an ever-evolving mysticism of people and places that you take with you wherever you go. So long as you surround yourself with those who love you, the home establishes itself in time.