The other morning I was running alone in the quiet of the early morning – pre sunrise. I turned on a street that I hadn’t run up in some time. The very first house on the street is an old 1930s style bungalow, with local stone covered now in ivy, old clapboard and trees nestled in tight against the house. I have always loved that house. It is special.
Then my eyes caught the for sale sign posted out front. Now my mind did not jump to a vision of a young family moving in and raising their children there with a swing set in the back and a rocker on the porch. No. My mind immediately jumped to the vision of the developer buying it, knocking it down and building yet another 6 bedroom, multi-story house with a 3 car garage.
Because that is where we are right now…..and have been for quite some time.
What is this fascination we have with big?
On my street of only 12 houses, 3 are ones currently under construction that required the removal of more trees than I care to count to make room for their over $2 million dollar size. Every for sale sign becomes a construction site.
This desire for bigger does not limit itself to homes. We all know what supersizing did to the health of our country. Parking lots are now filled with more SUVs than cars, and they have gotten so big that there is now a need to add a small compact car to the family as an additional vehicle.
And has anyone but me noticed that these new MEGA rolls of paper towels and toilet paper don’t even fit on our conventional holders??? What is that all about? It takes at least 5 or 6 times around before you have any hope of a spinning action to occur. I went to Target determined to find some regular sized products. Here is what I found instead. The words huge and enormous are getting a lot of play these days…….with regular being out of fashion.
Somehow I thought that one bright side of this long recession would be that bigger might not seem better any longer. But I was mistaken.
Big is not inherently bad. Just as small is not inherently good. I am not suggesting we all go back to living in small cape cods (although the idea of trying to live in a yurt for a year has a certain appeal to me). But where does “special” fit into all of this? Is special no longer of value?
Have we been convinced that if I have more I will be happier? Perhaps with more room in the house, my seemingly small life will expand to fill the vast empty space. But I believe it goes the other direction.
Where does a writer retreat to when writing their novel? A cabin in the woods. Where does an artist spend their time when creating? Often a small home by the sea. And where do we go when we want to find inner calm? Typically some tucked away corner in the house that feels special.
Last night as my father’s 80th birthday celebration began to wind down, one by one those of us left dragged chairs into arguably the smallest room in the house – the back porch – sitting shoulder to shoulder, while my dad held court with stories of a life well lived. The room is special and we all wanted to feel closer.
When I look down at my body I see how small a human being is. The space I occupy is tiny even in comparison to this room. Giving it too much space is distracting when all I really want is to live inside my soul.
I love sleeping in my little tent,