“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan


the fingerprints of a house

there is something very shroud of turin about this place on the wall, where once upon a time there hung plates painted with fairy tales, one above another on an oh-so-curvy display rack; once in their place, there they stayed. 

there are painters in the house, the ceiling in my future studio/library is already white, the bedroom ceilings almost done; money enough for ceilings only, leaving walls to me, but that is just fine, more than fine, in fact, it is what i needed to at last see.  space.  room.  the house is almost empty if you don't count the kitchen, and i will whisper to you here that i have my doubts that it will ever be empty; it is where i keep stacking stuff and where my brother keeps cooking, although he is now under orders to stop, but it also the place where my other brother discovered how to open the kitchen window - an allen wrench is the knob and you turn it in the wrong direction and voila! 2 outside panes open upward.  it is the funniest window i've ever seen and is at last open after who knows how many years, but i could not imagine standing at the kitchen sink always facing a closed window, or frying okra with the window not open - it just seemed wrong, and bad kitchen juju.

and the turtles are out and about, or are they terrapins? i have no clue, but one has a beautiful orange neck with tattoos of some kind, and keeps eyeing the fence looking for a way out, and i have no idea what to do with him.  or her.  he/she wanders around the fig tree and nibbles leaves and i admit to nestling a depression glass berry bowl into the ground and filling it with water because i have no idea what else to do.  i will have to learn.  one of the painters found another turtle in the garage and when she told me, i remembered my mother would block the entrance with an old, torn fireplace screen - the cat can get in and out, but turtles?  no.  and so the fireplace screen is back in place - i'd almost tossed it, but something stilled my hand.

this place has its fingerprints.  i will paint the walls and change the floors and move the air around, but its fingerprints and shadows will not change.  beneath a new coat of paint will always be those oh-so-curvy reminders of what was, of how it got to be who it is.  i'd forgotten the secrets houses hold - i haven't moved in a long time. 

as i change it, it will change me, 
but the fig tree still figs,
the turtles still turtle,
and i have a feeling that no matter how many blue and white flowers i plant,
a golden or red blossom will still make its way up every spring. 
a reminder. 
a surprise.



  1. yes, that is probably true. but sometimes, it is a combination of flowers that I would never have put together intentionally that I come to love the best.
    this life loves to surprise us.
    and change us.
    as we change it.

  2. oh how I miss your special way of seeing the life you live .. this is filled with love .. and I am hoping for the surprises!!

  3. Sounds as though your making great progress and breathing new life into the home. Thinking of you as you navigate these changes.

  4. as always debi, such beautiful words from your heart...

    and to think about houses having fingerprints just makes me smile....

    especially older homes of our parents or grandparents where laughter is still present long after the kids have grown and left......

  5. Wonderful words and yes surprise is still there just around the corner. Living in an older house the past 9 years I have wondered what stories it had to tell, then one day a picture showed up in a drawer in the kitchen of two young children standing in the same kitchen. Yes, it had a story to tell.

  6. I live in a farmhouse formerly occupied by the ancestors. Yes, their fingerprints remain long after they are gone. My heart smiles knowing I look out the same windows, I view the same hay fields, the same huge old cottonwood trees, that my bare feet walk the same old hardwood floors as they did. Their pictures in old black and white tones and sepia look back at me from antique frames on the wall. They surround me and I take comfort. Your house will never keep its secrets. It will always tell you things, unexpected things and your heart will smile in rememberance.

    I was most pleased to see your post today.
    in fondest of thought, Tilda

  7. Hey Debi, so happy to see you here. I love the thought of you in the kitchen with two brothers, sharing that space of your moms with them for awhile, opening up windows, frying up okra ... easing into it all.

    Thanks for checking in and letting us know how you're doing, you are thought of each and every day.

  8. somehow i am envious of the time you are getting to spend in your family home. when my dad passed we had little time to sell everything including his house. he built it over 40 years ago married my mum there and i was born there and it was so darn sad having to let it go. now it's gone we drove by recently and there is a huge brick monster standing on the the ground i used to play on that i learnt to walk on. oh Debi relish the time you have here.

  9. yes, "figs will fig" & "turtles will turtles", and thanfully, "Debi will still Debi"... that is a Godsend...



  10. Beautiful and tender; moved me to tears. Bless you.

  11. Living
    (inside a fairy tale)

    Fairy tales
    are not real___
    only the characters
    who bring life
    to our world.

  12. Oh lord, painting -- well I should have hired some professionals because it -- cleaning up my mother's house -- was quite a job.
    The real estate agent told me to just go with a neutral white -- what we had to cover over was over fifty years of pinkish tones throughout the house. Funny thing is that pink was not my mother's choice -- but my dad got increasingly "pink" as he aged, and so did the rooms, especially the bathrooms... Thanks for the memories...

  13. The stories you tell are like no other. Your descriptions are so vivid, yet you leave so much up to the imagination.
    Best of luck to that little turtle. Maybe he hangs around to look after you. :)


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