Tuesday, September 15, 2009

This Old House

I live in an old house. Now, depending on your experience or where you live, that may evoke images of Southern mansions or The Haunting. Though there are mansions in Maine, this isn't one of them and neither are there any ghosts, at least as far as I know. It certainly has been around long enough to have a one or two but I've never encountered any and I'll be quite happy not to.

But, it's been a feature in this part of the country for over two hundred years and now and then something comes along to remind me of the fact. For instance, the other night the cat vanished. If you've ever had cats you know this isn't unusual. Even the most social of them -- and mine is definitely that -- have a tendency to disappear occasionally. In this case, he was visible one minute and gone the next. Won
dering whether Lewis Carroll had decided to pay me a visit, I found him climbing into the wood bin of the fireplace in my study.

Concerned he might get stuck, I pulled him out to his disappointment, and discovered bricks from the original construction dating to the late 1700s. That was an unexpected find. There are other signs of age, though, that are less romantic. For instance, there's a bit of wood rot around some of the window frames and this week a crew is busy replacing them.

One thing has become utterly clear and that is, this old house won't take care of itself. I'm sure it would if it could, but lacking that ability, it has to rely on me. If I simply assume it will last forever, it won't. Age correlates with deterioration when accompanied by neglect. If we want our bodies to continue to function optimally as we age, we've got to give them some attention. It may take a little more effort but it's worth it in the long run.

I mean, just because this is an old house doesn't mean it's not going to look incredible after a new coat of paint. Ahem, if you get my drift.


(Photo by the author)
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