A Nomad Or A Sturdy Old House


The sky is the color of smoke. A paler shade of gray. 




It has been cold all day. For once there is not a whisper of wind. The branches are still as statues in their bareness. Occasionally there is the sound of a car driving past. 

It is 4 p.m. When my kids were young, that was always the worst time of day. Too late for a snack; too early for supper. 

The dogs seem to get restless at this particular time. Charlie drifts aimlessly through the house. He seems not to know what he wants. Now he's on the top of the couch, staring out. Hoping, I'm sure, for someone to walk past. A squirrel to run across the grass. Something to happen. A barkable moment.

It doesn't come.




I feel at odds today. I think with Christmas drawing near, I am feeling that old familiar feeling that often hits this time of year. A bit of melancholy. 

Melancholy. Isn't that a pretty word? Isn't it funny how some pretty words don't conjure up pretty things? 

I look at melancholy as the first phase of sadness. Melancholy is just the beginning of the winding road that leads you know not where. I seem to find myself driving down that winding road come winter. 




I have never been a wanderer. A nomad. I have never desired to do lots of traveling. 

For the past few days I've been playing with the idea of what it would be like to hit the open road. Save up and get one of those vintage trailers, and the dogs and I would take to the road. Sleep in our little trailer of tin.

But then I'd just yearn for home. Somehow, despite all my efforts, this does not really feel like home. It is a nice sturdy old house. It has had many inhabitants since the thirties. Shadows of residents drift through the rooms. The walls have seen and heard so much.

But I don't feel like it chose me. It's walls keep me warm and give me shelter. I sleep within them peacefully at night.

Still. 

Still I don't seem to know quite where I belong. Whether it is in sun-filled states with vast oceans. Or in places filled with trees and mountains. 

I don't feel the warmth of this old house embracing me. I don't know why. 




I am at the age when I know I need to start living a dream. That I'm getting to a point in time when dreams will soon be things I merely think about. With a dose of regret. And a bit of melancholy.

Still.

Every day I take to the open road of the internet and search for new places, different climates. Picturesque villages. I wonder if I picked myself up and placed myself there, if I would know for sure that that's where I belonged. If the feeling would fill my every pore. Knowing. 

It would be nice to know, for certain sure, that that's where I was meant to be.


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32 comments

  1. My mother used to say that she didn't like four o'clock in the afternoon. I think one is tired from the goings on of the day and it is too early to go to bed.. My Mom would always change her clothes, put on a fresh dress, before my Dad got home at five.. She'd have dinner on the table when he drove in the driveway..
    I don't like winter anymore.. I don't like to be cold and not be able to drive if there is snow on the roads.. The days are shorter and it gets dark earlier. AND, I'm getting older.
    I guess I'll just thank "my lucky stars" that I'm healthy and be thankful that I have a warm home, a son and daughter to keep me company and two sweet kitties to love..
    I wish for you contentment and joy in the years to come----no matter where it will be that you decide to call "home".
    I think after the excitement of Christmas is over, we can all take a deep breath and relax a bit. It would be nice, though, if we could keep just a bit of that excitement throughout the year..
    Take care and watch out for the weather that's coming your way.
    Charlotte in Virginia


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  2. Sometimes when the road speaks your name you have to get in your car and go. I have spent hours on the road, I found myself on the open road, it calms me, settles me. Grab a coffee and go. :) Diane

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  3. Boy, do I know these thoughts and feelings you are having. They are with me like the air I breathe. Like I need to find out where I belong before I am to old to move there. So many losses, so many mean relatives, quite a few good friends but most have passed on now. I get all excited about Christmas and fizzle out before it gets here. I do need to buy the things for Christmas morning sausage breakfast casserole. I think I'll splurge at the corner grocery and not the big go to Walmart store. Truly, I believe I see life the way it has been - and I've tried the live the life I wanted it to be. A rude awaking and I don't like it. Also, so many good things. The pets are unbelievably wonderful. The small tree is lit with clear lights and the two cats are mesmerized by them. This life is good I just need to figure out what is next. I know God is telling me as I pray to organize and to know a good change is coming.

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    1. Yes! That's just how I feel. Like I need to know where I belong before I am too old to move there. I too get all excited about Christmas, and then fizzle before it gets here. There are so many good things to be thankful for. Just feel that old restless feeling.
      Brenda

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  4. Those are very intriguing questions. I'm not sure anyone knows exactly until they just up and do it! I'm not a risk taker, so that sort of thing would not be easy for me to do. But I know people like that and they seem very happy. I think that a lot of people feel melancholy around this time of year. But hey, the good thing is that this year is almost over and if you are a resolution type of person, then you can start doing those very soon! Next year is a clean slate.

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  5. Wishing you peace & contentment today and in the days ahead. I hope your Christmas & New Year's will be happy times for you. Hugs!

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  6. Oh - I know that feeling well. I have been there at times in my life. I call it Living In Limbo. I was where I needed to be at the moment but not where I felt I should be. It is a weird feeling. Yes, Brenda, dream while you can and maybe you need to follow that dream. There's an old saying- Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all. I am praying that you can find some peace and sense of repose in your life. When the time is right to do something different, or go somewhere else, you will know- xo Diana

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  7. I so enjoy traveling, but I so love coming back home, as well. There's an old saying: Home is where the heart is, so I guess it would be safe to follow your heart, your gut instincts, and see where the road takes you. In the meantime, you're surrounded by cyber friends who care about you and wish you peace and joy in this season of life.

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  8. Well , I do believe the old saying is that change is good. I think you need to leave some baggage behind and figure out who, what and where is going to make you truly happy.You deserve to be happy !!!

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  9. In my past life I was a traveler - I love going to London, Germany, CA, CO, NY, TX, etc but my last visits I would get homesick at night - sleeping in a strange bed, being alone in a strange place - not having my familiar surroundings. Last year I was in OK and I stayed in a wonderful hotel and I told myself enjoy but I missed being home. I am done with some traveling - I always have to convince myself do this trip and then you will be back home soon. I think what I miss most is my daily routine and do what and where I want to go. I was melancholy the other day, it just hit me hard and I tried to talk myself out of it. Books are the best for me - that is my traveling source. My library wrapped books in Christmas wrapping paper and you get to choose a book (they scan it and you have to return it in 3 weeks). On Christmas morning I am going to unwrap 3 books and see what I selected and have a great week of reading. "And this melancholy will pass" - don't forget to breathe in some natural air when you let the dogs out.

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  10. Its my firm belief that houses/ structures have feelings and if the occupant is uncertain about being there, the structure also remains a bit aloof.. You havent embraced it and so it doesnt embrace you... Its doing its best to offer shelter, as it was built to do but the feeling has to come from YOU.. talk to it-- if that sounds nuts,too bad:) Talk to it, touch the wall or doorjamb and just let that energy low from your fingertips.. It isnt the house you are disappointed in, its the fact that the area and those from whom you expected affection and attention, havent given it and at certain times they have actually made you feel Bad and Unwanted there.. They walk away and leave those vibes in your Home , thus You and the House are left with negative feelings to absorb..
    open the door and say out loud- all negative, BE GONE ~! you and that house need to just Love each other for who you are and for why you both find yourself in this situation.. Once that understanding is made I think you'll find a friendly bond and make each other feel not to alone.. Just try it.. it cant hurt and I truly believe it'll help..
    Sonny

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  11. I've traveled for work and found it extremely lonely. Now, I commute to the kitchen in my bathrobe and thank God. I love routine and being home. Sometimes I wonder whether I should just "go" somewhere new and have a new experience. I've discovered that I can be happy with the "little" pleasures...my doggies, yorkie and cairn, doing something so cute or being nice to someone in town by just being polite or saying hello. It's the little things, the small accomplishments that give me such joy. I do know that when I'm away, I'm so relieved, happy, whatever when I enter my home and close the door. I'm home.

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  12. Oh yes Brenda! I so know what you mean. I wonder if I will ever find a place that I feel I truly belong and is where I was meant to be. I feel like it's out there...somewhere. But where? Like you, i am drawn to both the mountains and the water, and would miss both if they were not nearby. But home is so much more than location. It's is having a sense of purpose, a feeling we are accepted and understood by those around us. It is also intangible. Like when we meet someone and sparks fly, or we just click and we know we can relax and be ourselves.

    I hope you find your special place. I hope I find mine too. The clock is ticking.

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  13. When I have a life changing question/decision before me I pray. I put my faith in God always, but especially then. I know He will provide me with the perfect solution for me. I will know exactly what I should do, and when. Pray Brenda as if your life depended on it, because it sounds as if it does.

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  14. I think that melancholy is common at this time of year for many. Christmas is so fraught with shoulds and wishes and memories of times past and hopes that everything will be perfect this year, or that we had more money for gifts or cooking or baking or that this loved one could be here but is not, and on and on and on the list goes.
    I have hosted Christmas Day Dinner for family and extended family and whatever friend needs to come since I was in my twenties and I can tell you honestly that at least every other Christmas for a few days there I was heartily sick of it and wished someone else would host. Other times I would be so sad, missing my grandparents who were such a part of my Christmas every year as a child and young adult. THIS year I lost my mojo this morning since it is raining and warm, and all I foresee is mud, and why bother cleaning and if I have to wrap another present ( mostly for my sons, as in I am wrapping gifts for them to give to fiancee, etc ) I will scream. And yesterday I put butter out to soften and then later I put it back into the fridge because I am tired of baking and don't want to anymore, whine whine whine. :) It may be that it is in your destiny to pick up and move somewhere else, Brenda, yes. But if you are also in a "Mood" ...I think that many people are here and there around this time. Mine goes back and forth and always does in the week before Christmas...one minute I am either sad or grumpy or frustrated and the next I am bawling my eyes out at the end of "It's a Wonderful Life" . :)

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  15. I can relate to this post. We moved around a few times with my husband's career. Now that he is retired, we have a more difficult time deciding where 'home' should be.... back with our parents, extended family....or here with our son and his new family, including grandchildren. When we bought our current house, we knew it was just temporary for a few years, so not a lot of thought was put into the purchase. But if this is now going to be our forever home.... it's not exactly what we wanted. :(( What to do, what to do???? I hope you decide where 'home' is for you!

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  16. We have children in two countries...talk about not knowing where you want to/should be! Plus a barn full of animals, 3 cats and two dogs...
    4 o'clock at my house is time to head out to the barn for stall cleaning and feeding..dogs know they go too!

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  17. You are so wise to realize you need to start living your dream now. Even though you aren't too keen on traveling, maybe a trip to several different kinds of places around the country might be in order. I think you would know "the right spot" as soon as you got to it. That's how it was for me when I came to look at the cottage we now live in. I just knew this was The Spot.

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    1. Years ago I saw a cartoon that described my frustrations. There was also a song by Merle Haggard that would remain on my mind. My life was about to change for the third time. My brilliant husband was diagnosed with early onset dementia a short time layer. I have moved four times since then and have discovered while writing Christmas cards to friends that I am happy again. The song is "White Line Fever". It is the moving on down the road that delighted me. I am a conservative Christian woman and the lifestyle suggested in the cartoon would never be my choice. My brain needed relief and a far out situation to get me to move on. The cartoon showed a woman thinking something like some times I want to give everything up and become a biker chick. I slowly learned to just be me.

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  18. I often feel the melancholy too.I have learnt that when I am down the antidote is to FOCUS OUT. My husband, a retired teacher, does a lot of charitable work and he often says that when we want perspective in life, we should go to some of the homes for seniors and just see how hard it is for some of them to move about, how some drool when they eat, how dependent they are on the kindness of others, etc. etc. Lucky for me I love my home. It is a 1400 sq. ft. cottage, not the Craftsman I would have loved, but I have to have what I have and be satisfied. I retired this year and it is the first time I have had the opportunity "to be home" and not be frazzled and tired out from work every day. So I am immersing myself in redecorating my home and I get a lot of ideas from you. (Your blog and your pins make a difference far and wide). I guess what I am trying to say is cliched but is a truth worth rehearsing and it is that we all need to count our blessings and look at what we have and not only at what we lack - otherwise we will go insane. I am not putting down introspection; our lives need to be examined. I have faith that you will rise out of your temporary rut and your path will become clear to you. A new year is almost here and as a talk show personality said (and I am not a fan) - "Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right." May Peace and Blessings be yours.

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  19. I enjoyed your writing about melancoly...so many of us have or get it, and especially this time of year. I have finally found my happy place here in Kentucky, but basically I've been away from home since leaving Colorado at age 17. When I got here, I was at peace with myself, and looking realistically at what I can and can't do. It all got mixed together and somehow we sold our expensive place out west, and moved east. The mountains of Kentucky were calling us, and so we fell in love with it the minute we arrived. I love it here, but I still get melancoly, so I know the place and house aren't my problem....my saddness missing loved ones not here with me or that have passed gets me, no matter where I am. Know it will get better as it warms up this spring and you can get out and about. Till then we silly blog family will be sending you hugs and prayers!

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  20. This is beautiful, I can really feel your words through and through. I always wonder if I'm using up valuable time by not living my dreams...even if I can't pinpoint what they are. I think of that phrase, "What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?" When I'm feeling down it's usually because I want change in some shape of form. Emotionally, physically, somehow, somewhere. Don't let your thoughts be silenced by your everyday activities. I think your heart is trying to tell you something.

    If we don't touch base again, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas. I will be home all day until 5:00...you know how to find me. Hugs.

    XO,
    Jane

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  21. Hi Brenda,
    I have a few thoughts to share with you.
    I live down in Florida, but my family was up in Michigan so I'm snowbirding this year up in Michigan.
    Guess what? I miss my home in Florida...lol. Some of us are just wanderers by nature. I'd say take a trip
    or extended vacation before you make a big life changing decision. Test it out. Also although I know
    many of us make a living thru a computer there are times where I'm much happier without it. I'd take a book
    over this contraption any day of the week. I dream of a time where I can toss this thing in the nearest ocean or lake!
    Merry Christmas..keep going...seek what comes next! Sincerely, Debra

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  22. Sometimes I think winter is melancholy due to a lack of light. There is a condition called SAD (Seasonal Affect Disorder), and I am convinced I battle a slight amount of this each winter. I prefer spring and early summer. I like the light. I crave light, and that is one of the reasons I like this old cottage so much. I purposely painted the walls a Benjamin Moore color called Super White, and I have never regretted it.

    But in terms of your wanderlust, I think a lot of us are staring down milestone birthdays. This next one is really making me nervous. I have never felt like this before, but this one is scaring me. I have so much I still want to do, and where has the time gone? A little trailer sounds good. Mr. Magpie thinks so, too, but it doesn't work for us right now. Maybe some day.

    Have you ever thought that this house is like the proverbial transitional man in terms of dwellings? It's the first house since the divorce. Maybe you feel that about it. Like it is a transitional house of sorts and not the perfect fit for you. I think it is adorable, but everything you do is cute and colorful. Anyhow, I will be thinking of you throughout the holidays. They are hard on many people for various reasons, but then they are gone just as soon as they came. Hang in there. You are loved!

    XO,

    Sheila

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  23. I feel the exact same way Brenda. The very same. Nothing is holding us down. We have had life ripped from us the normal woman could never understand. Meaning the married 30 years with loving family who really love each other, wonderful husbands who meant till death do us part...and retirement heath insured ones. We are normal but life kicked us down I feel way less than the norm. I understand.

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  24. Brenda, I think you chose the place and home you are in because of circumstances. It has gotten you to this point, but if it's not home then you need to truly find where you belong. Somehow you will know! hugs!!

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  25. I don't know if that place exists Brenda, I have yet to find on this planet. It is said we are all pilgrims and sojourners on this earth, that there is a longing that cannot be met this side of eternity. I have felt this most of my life and there seems to be an emptiness that only God can fill. When you think about it, this old earth is not all that welcoming, full of strife and murder, thieves waiting to steal what you earned by blood sweat and tears. Sure there are brief moments of true happiness, birth of a child, finding love, the beauty of a sunset but those too are fleeting. There awaits a mansion for me, not built with human hands but by the master carpenter, there awaits unspeakable joy everlasting that I can only dream of at this point in time, but I know it's coming, such a deep need must require a fitting fulfillment of that need. Some call it echoes of Eden, when we were without sin and were pure in thought and deed, where we walked with God in the Garden and there were no tears, no death, no melancholy. My heart yearns for the time again.

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  26. Once again, you and I feel just the same, except that I love to travel. Nd I have a lot of good friends that I would hate to leave. I would send you a happy pill and a hug if I could!!!!!

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  27. I so completely relate to your feelings Brenda. I hope that we both find the contentment and peace we are looking for.

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  28. You spoke what is in my heart. Brenda, let's hope the best is yet to come...

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  29. I get you, Brenda. I feel like this a LOT. Full of angst and very restless. Worried, but not sure about what. Maybe it's just a natural progression as we age. Perhaps we are preparing ourselves for the next phase of our existence. I just don't know.

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