Season Opener

The staircase to the upstairs in the center hall.

This house is bright. The light was a big gain from our first house which allowed little sunshine through its windows.

Our house is a bungalow with a wide covered porch. The big front picture windows welcome the rays. The bays in the front rooms and the radiator to ceiling glass portals in the dining room provide sun patches for the Beast to follow throughout the day. The light is invited into the hall by the south facing window in our bathroom. The house loves the light.

When that bathroom door is closed, though, when someone showers, shaves or shits, there is only darkness in the center hall.

Much of the plaster is crumbling through the house, and I bet it started in the hall. Or there was some god awful wallpaper that couldn’t be removed. I think this because someone, before we moved here, covered the walls in the hallway with dark brown paneling from floorboard, ten feet up, to the ceiling.

Once, during a party, a guest pointed out that the perpetrator of the darkness used standard eight foot panels, capped them with a piece of trim, then finished with scrap. While they did an excellent job in lining up the panels, the walls now seemed flimsy to me.

Over the years, some of the panels have come a bit loose. There may or may not be a hole or two that may or may not have been delivered by a boot or a fist by brothers who may or may not have been in a brawl. But damage or no, the dark paneling just doesn’t make sense.

But we aren’t so simple. No. We. Are. Not.

Of course we’re tearing out the depressing paneling. That will be amazing. But not as amazing as opening up the stairwell.

Bungalows are a either one story or a story and a half. Our stairs to the second floor have been enclosed just behind a door and ensconced in thick plaster–like a secret elevator shaft without the elevator. The door will be replaced with air and the wall is being subbed out by an open railing. I will be able to look down from upstairs to the hall. And so will the sun. The house will be flooded with light from its center. I think this will be the aspect of the remodel with the most impact.

More than increasing the kitchen size by 50%. More than adding another full bath. More than the new windows across the back of the house. More than the new HVAC and powered up electrical.

Just you wait. This new staircase, with it’s come hither look, is the refresh. It’s going to be grand.

Dust to Dust

Three adorbs baby bunnies, brown, white and gray. They look very soft. And not dusty at all. Did you get that they are DUST BUNNIES? Alt text humor.

The light spills into the dining room from the middle window. It hits long and low at this time of year. It has an orange tint. And it’s moving.

The light isn’t solid, but it is full of tiny bits of dust that boil around in the stream. There isn’t actually a rhythm to the movement, but there is flow. The specks float in the sunlight. They come together and then, seemingly, repel each other. They float away to meet and then be repelled by a different, nearby dust speck.

An air current criss crosses the do-si-dos inside the beam. The draft air is cooler. Some of the dust tries to drop, but on the way down hits a hot spot and bounces back and rejoins the sun dance.

The strips of light have a terminal point at the opposite wall where another batch of dust lies. This dust is much more obvious than its hidden, moving in the light, cousins. The dust on the floor simply sits next to the wall, snuggled into a weave of dog hairs and punctuated by the crunch of some crumbs that were brushed off the table at breakfast.

A passerby disturbs the air, creating a breeze that makes the wall dust roll a little. Just a little. It mostly sits and waits to be joined by the dust that falls as the morning sun that held it up moves across the room and disappears. Some may join the dance if it’s sunny again tomorrow.

Floats Like a Butterfly


The sun was coming in from the east at a 30° angle. It palmed my arm with a pleasant, ambient heat, like the warmth from leaning on the radiator on a cold morning. It had just pulled the last chill from the air. The chill was gone, but you knew it was just gone.

The robin darted in front of us. Again. I keep looking for her nest. There must be a nest somewhere because she’s been buzzing us the past few weeks, distracting us from her treasure. She’s very good at the distracting because she has come at us from every direction. I thought her nest was in the eaves in the porch, but that was one of her tricks. I searched the hedges, but couldn’t find it. There’s been nests there before.

I’m thinking that it must be on the other side of the elephantine boxwood–the blob that has grown to overtake the west side of the front yard. Only the feral cats, the raccoons and maybe the hideous possums fit between the oversized shrubbery and the hedge that lines the fence. I hope that the cats don’t get to her babies. I know they definitely get to The Beast, getting inside his head and playing games with his hunter’s brain.

Our gardening is fairly God-driven. That is, whatever God puts there is there. We’ve worked over the years to pull up the invasive vines and in its place, the deity has left what resembles thick grass. She also deposited some small mounds of clover dotted with tiny yellow flowers. Somebody said these were weeds. They are beautiful.

This late spring morning the mounds are dappled with  water droplets. The mini globes reflect the sunshine. Some of some of them are prisms, displaying today’s lesson in the color spectrum. At first I think that The Beast is eating the greenery, but see that he’s browsing the surface of the leaves and petals, lapping up the dew as if it’s puppy nectar.

Just above his big brow, I see the movement of a butterfly. The wings open and close slowly, like a baby’s eyes as she’s ready to doze. The edges of the wings are lined charcoal black, like a magazine model’s smokey eye. Inside the frame is a paisley of bluish black, orange and brown, flecked with gold and pale yellow. The butterfly rises from his perch and floats above the dog’s nose and to the boxwood where it pauses, just for a second. In two more beats of its wings, he’s back and dancing around the head of The Beast who looks up and follows, disinterestedly, with one big brown eye before he returns to sup on the clover.

I follow the butterfly, too. I reach for my phone to capture the exchange but my pocket is empty. Relieved of my documentation duties, I am fully immersed in the slow opening and closing of the wings and the oddness of both floating and turning and abruptly changing directions at the same time.

The butterfly rises above the hedge and flies away.