In the black house

Written by: Chelsea

In the black house there will be windows, big, tall, wide ones that bring the outside right in. The sky, the tops of the trees, the rolling, unruly meadow that just goes and goes and goes, maybe a couple sheep dotted in, snacking on the grass. In the black house there are more of us, three or four or five. The black house is about mothering. It is music playing on the house speakers in the morning as we brush our teeth. It is out together in the garden pulling the littlest weeds out from the rows of kale and carrots, all our feet in the earth, sitting down to eat a strawberry just off the vine and dripping red. The black house is where there is time for everything. We go fishing at dusk because it means we put our feet in the river and wash away the day’s dirt. The sign of a day well spent. Pete has a big barn, where he is building a line of furniture. The littles go visit him and he gives them a small hammer and a little nail, teaching them how to drive it into a piece of wood. They pretend to be hammering it in while they watch him, sawdust flying everywhere, turning a tree into a chair. He’s a magic worker. The black house would be too quiet if it was just the three or four or five of us, so we invite people in. In the forest there are three cabins, tucked amidst the trees, they can’t even see one another. We have visitors come— artists who paint in the adjoining studio, writers building a world of language, people thinking up what’s next, what’s best, and how we bridge the gap. They stay for a week or two at a time, coming to have supper with us a few nights a week, at a long, long table outdoors that we cover with a tan linen and line with bowls of vegetables from the gardens. Pete builds a fire when the last bit of supper has been eaten, and we sit and watch the flames crackle and dance, while we chat. The color melts out of the sky, and all the constellations come out. The littles curl up in our laps, and snuggle into us, too tired to be up still, but not yet wanting to go to bed. Life is better than dreams. I spend a few afternoons a week in the room at the tippy top of the house, the room with windows on all four sides, a greenhouse just for me. I read and read and read and write and write and write and think and think and think. I don’t know about what. Maybe it doesn’t matter. Our friends come visit from the city all the time. They come with their littles and they each get a cabin. We get out the sprinklers during the day, and the kids run around with the sheep, everyone getting soaked. We make them treasure maps and have scavenger hunts, and we make art out of the sticks we find on our walks. We paint with our fingertips and say our favorite lines of poetry out loud over and over and over until we live with the words within us. One night we set up a projector and screen, watching a film in the meadow with big bowls of popcorn and a nest of cozy blankets, everyone in their jammies.

writing group