Big Haus

(a rare photo of the three of us, thanks to Tomek, in honor of our anniversary, today…)


We sit before the campfire, just my honey and me, the big cabin behind us empty but for three old cats.  The house looms large.  Unused.  Wasted.  Too big.

I’m calling it Big Haus, for big is how it feels.  Approximately 2,200 square feet.  The Census Bureau reported the average size of a U.S. house in 2011 to be 2,480 square feet, a slight increase from the 2,392 square feet in 2010.  Looks like we’re pretty close to average.  Funny. I’ve never considered myself much a part of the norm.  This fact somewhat frightens me.  So much for being different, breaking barriers, stepping outside the box.

2,480 square feet, and still I hear a heck of lot of complaints.  The same old stuff.  Things like the price of gas being too high.  A fact for which I hold little sympathy. Seems to me you don’t HAVE to drive around alone in that big fancy truck or SUV.  Your God Given Right, you tell me.  Whatever…  What on earth matters most?  Cheap gas?  Get a life.

Bigger is better, or so I hear.  I’m not biggie size person.  I like small, simple, old-fashioned and conservative of natural materials.  What a concept.

Just last week there were two other people with whom we shared the house and the size seemed just right. But today, the upstairs is looming, the downstairs seems hollow, and the space in between is too much.

I think about heating it this winter, trying to keep it clean, wasted firewood and a full morning twice a week to keep the dog and cat hair in check.  I should have better things to do.

Is this the empty nest syndrome, grumbling about too much space to heat and clean and collect clutter?  I thought “empty nest” referred more to the sadness one feels when the children fly the coop.  This year I feel no sadness or loss, only excitement for the positive current and future life of my son. Dang, I’m happy for him, proud of him.  And sure, I won’t deny, a bit of excitement already for Christmas break when he’ll be back home.

Lessons I send a young man off with this year.  Same as last year.  Same stuff every year.  This is what matters to me.

1.  Live life fully.  Live each day with passion and purpose.

2. Be involved.  Take a stand. Stand up for what you believe in, who you believe in.

3. Be yourself.

How dull a life if lived without passion. How shallow a world if we stand for nothing.  How boring a person if not unique.

What else is there?  Half Life.  Living life without meaning, integrity, point and purpose. Direction and belief.

To live without a backbone along the backbone of our continent.  Spineless, drifting slowly to grave.

We are surrounded at times with a leisure class that cares more about cocktails than kids, more about gossip and rumors than building, growing, giving, sharing.   And heaven forbid, caring.

Like jellyfish, turning to mush in my hands as I squeeze my fingers to a fist.

The more they hold back, the more I want to push forward.  Suppression in the air stirs a strong desire to bust free.

Ah, yes. So there we are, out by the fire, our backs to the house that seems so big, so empty, so underutilized and perhaps even unnecessary.  And we start planning.  For the next house, you know.  Of course.  The one by the river.  Because although we’ve got the Little Cabin there for now, there will be THE house, our house.  Not a big house, not too little.  Just right.

Because life is not about yesterday.  Holding onto the past won’t build your dreams.  Take a chance.  Make a change.  Step out and stand up.  Participate in life.  Build it better.

And in the meanwhile, I’m here.  Big Haus.  Stocking up a lot of wood for winter.

17 thoughts on “Big Haus

  1. Happy Anniversary to you two. That is a great picture. You must have grown Gin but I know you’re standing on a log or something. Thanks for writing and posting pictures. Forrest has grown into a fine young man & I can smell that fire from here…
    Take care….

  2. How lovely to see such a natural photo of you three (at last) as seen by my Tomek’s lens, today off all days (it’s his bday and it makes me feel like you are showing me a bit of him too); and, if I am not mistaken, you are wearing ‘my’ bracelet… ?

    I know what you mean about the empty nest syndrome, though I am happy to say I live in a manageable size apartment (120 square metres) and do not miss the very large houses we used to live in when I grew up! Much love Gin!

  3. Yes, keeping simplicity in our lives is critical….well, at least in my life. Your writing resonates with me because there is no place I would rather be than outside….in the garden…along a trail…backpacking in the wilderness…sharing time with my chickens, dog, and quarterhorse.

  4. A very HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to you two and many many more . I know what you mean by a house being too big .I lived in a a 30 ft travel trailer for about 4 years .Our family thought we were crazy .But were some of our best years . You learn to realy know each other and if you can get along togeather .Build YOUR home just the size you want .Make every inch yours .I am going to make a cut out on the scroll saw of how you two will look in about 30 or 40 years .We will look that way a lot sooner .I will make two copys and send one to you two .It will give you something to look at and see the future .
    Happy Anniversary
    Don & Fely

    • My friend Don, I would love that… truly. And I fully relate to and understand how comfortable you were in the travel trailer for those years… My best to you and Fely, and still hoping for a visit from you both… next summer?

  5. I don’t know why but this post made me cry. I suppose because there is so much truth and meaning in it. Does that make sense?

    Happy Anniversary! The photo of the three of you is, I think, is the best one ever.

  6. I love what you wrote and I’m wondering if you would let me make a poster of some of these thoughts to hang in my class room? We have a poster machine at our school. I would put your name at the bottom of the poster of course.
    Happy Anniversary!

    • I would be honored, Sheri. Thank you.

      I have also been meaning to thank you for your last comment… that meant more to me than I can find words to express (yes, I’m pretty bad with words when it matters most…)

    • Scott, we used to, and the coolest hats which said “get lost” on the back of them too :) We should make some up again for next year. I’ll let you know when we do, oK?

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