A couple of weeks ago, I received my property tax assessment and my jaw dropped. Over the last two years, the value of my home has almost doubled, which is wonderful news if you want to sell your house, but I don’t want to sell mine. As a matter-of-fact, I hope to be dragged out of my house feet-first. My wife, however, has been telling me for over a year that the house is too big; she’s trying to prepare me for the fact that sooner or later it’s going to exceed both her capacity and our needs. I get apoplectic when I hear her talk this way . . . I plug my ears and shout invectives.
This is not just my house — it’s an extension of my body and soul. In our home of 35 years, four generations have slept here, smelled here, tasted here, and partied here. We have lived our history here, and every nook and cranny comes with its own story. My grandchildren’s placentas are all buried outside around the house; each has his or her own bush, vine, or tree. I’m hoping that, like the old Indian tradition, they will come back to this place and roll around on the ground to honor the earth to which they were first connected.
This place is part of me, and it reflects my tastes, habits, and holds my spirit. When I think about the spirit part of me, I know it can’t be contained in this place, or any other place. My spirit is not in the box, the house, the marker; it’s in everything and every place I’ve touched and loved. I tell myself it’s not in a place that I leave my imprint . . . but I still don’t want to leave my house.
Alas, I’ve grown too attached to the place. I can’t fathom the history lived in these walls summarized as, “3BR, 3BR, 4 fireplaces, separate office, may need some upgrades.” Frankly, I’m not sleeping as well since my tax assessment came, knowing that I’m resting inside this big checkbook, whose balance I don’t even want to know.