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How I Will Remember This House

He’s eating the seed of a maple tree — you know those swirly helicopter kinds that we just to throw in the air by the fistful when we were kids? — and honestly I didn’t know that squirrels eat swirly helicopter nuts, but maybe (like me) he’s tired of being tired and not loving what he sees when he looks in the mirror and so he’s decided to eat cleaner for the next month or so.

I don’t know. That’s not the point.

So anyways, I’m looking out the kitchen window, at this squirrel. And at the branches of my backyard trees thick with leaves, finally after way too many bare grey brown months of winter. I see my hammock strung between their trunks, and promise myself to carve out an hour or two there this weekend. My grass is finally mowed, after three weeks of jungle status, because I mowed it last night. Barefoot, because I want to be a hippie and also sometimes I have risky behaviors.


And in the middle of mindlessly washing out my french press so I can make my morning coffee, these words floated through my head as if somebody else in the room had said them:

“This will be remembered as your house of healing.”

Maybe it was my own heart. Maybe it was god. Maybe it was the squirrel.

I don’t know. That’s not the point.


It’s been almost a year since I moved in here, this little three-bedroom home on the north edge of Minneapolis.

Last summer I was reeling from an unexpected and unwanted divorce, bleeding out from the harrowing years that had preceded it, and flailing wildly for anyone or anything or anyplace that would make sense again.

Last summer I cleared out my storage unit and dumped what was left of my home into the basement of this empty house and collapsed on a borrowed couch to stare at the blank walls and wait for life to make sense again.

Slowly, it has. And the house has watched me.


This house has seen me wander up and down the dead-end street and to the park a few blocks over, smoking cigarettes and watching my boys play and wondering what the future held for them.

This house has witnessed me facedown on the floor in the shower crying and pleading with whatever god may be listening to not lose me again and to help me take one more step.

This house has watched me go to therapy and come back again every week for a year; it’s watched me start antidepressants and forget how to cry but remember how to smile again.

In that backyard hammock, I stared at the leaves all last summer and fall and again this spring, letting my mind rest and hoping that my therapist knew what she was doing when she prescribed “less talking, more time in your hammock; the bi-lateral motion will help heal your brain.”

On these hardwood floors I’ve rolled out my yoga mat over and over again, slowly moving from a fetal position to that of a (clumsy) standing warrior.

I’ve filled this living room with furniture I found on craigslist, candles I bought at Target, art I made with my own hands, and empty wine glasses I shared with friends.

I’ve stood at that gas stove in the tiny kitchen and made a hundred omelets and a thousand cups of coffee and more than a few dozen late-night plates of drunken nachos.

And this house has watched me.

This house has seen me kiss strangers and it’s seen me sleep alone and it’s seen me count my last dollars wondering how I’d pay the rent. More recently, it’s seen me celebrate with friends. It’s only been a year but I’ve lived a lot of life in this rental house, the one with the squirrel on the roof outside my kitchen window.


I sat crosslegged in yoga a day or two ago and in the quiet moments of meditation I repeated to myself a simple mantra: “I am home. I am home. I am home.”

It’s a play on words, of course; at once acknowledging that this city, this house, this yoga mat feel more like home every time I return to them. But also… I am home. Not only this city or this house or this yoga mat.

I am becoming my own home.

It’s a good place to be.


Last night while I was mowing the lawn barefoot by the last light of dusk, I found myself wondering how long I’d be here. Is this little rental on the north edge of Minneapolis a many-years home, or just a right-now home?

I don’t know. That’s not the point.

I know that when I look back, I will remember this as my house of healing.

And for that, I am grateful.

published May 26, 2016

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