Expansion & Contraction

I look out of my office and see the grooves in the floor. I want to lie down. Allow the tops of my feet, thighs, stomach, breasts, my palms, my left cheek, my ear to rest on the boards that have been here since 1951. There is story to share.

Flooring needs to acclimate to its environment. It’s called acclimation. It prevents excessive expansion or contraction.
Expansion and contraction.knotted history
Expansion and contraction.
Wood floors expand and contract.
They need space to allow for movement.
They are alive.

I’ve stripped through many layers of polish and shine to come to the original tongue and groove wood panels that are at my foundation. I prefer a natural finish. I want my imperfections to shine as the sunlight streams in through the windows. A nick here, a scar there, knotted flaws. Blemishes contain story.

I can find story anywhere if I choose to see. Choose to pay attention. Choose to feel. Acclimate to the energy that has been left behind. A fingerprint left on a glass coffee table, the red lipstick that stains a favorite tea cup, the faint scent of Tide tumbling in the air as the drier runs. I can be still to feel the pitter-patter of children that grew up on these floors, feel their bumps and bruises, knees, shins, hearts scraped, scarred, broken and healed.

When we first moved into the house I felt the history. I wondered if one day I’d greet Bill in a bouffant do and white ruffled apron over a yellow fitted blouse and full skirt. The smell of his dinner warming in the O’Keefe and Merritt oven, some sort of a casserole baking with broccoli, tuna and Campbell’s cream-of-something soup. I’d greet him with a chilled Martini, three olives, little vermouth, ruby lips pursed, “How was your day honey?”

I’ve never made a casserole, but I do greet him with a kiss, smile and the question.

As I look out from my office, I see us grooved into the boards. We have, after nine years in our home, added to its history.

We’ve acclimated to the house. Like the wood floors did when they first settled in 1951, we settled ourselves in here, happy, in 2004. One day another couple will settle in after we’ve left. They’ll swirl themselves into our spirits and the spirits of those that have come before.

We are pieces of wood. We expand and contract.  We are boards in a floor, placed together, tongue and groove, to create a patchwork foundation.  We are story.