Sometimes the most modest things call to me — an oval beveled window in a vinyl door. A porch with a hand-made dog gate. A wicker settee under a tree.
What if this were my home? In that little nook at the top of the stairs, I’d write like my heart were a river. If that were my hammock, everyone would be my friend. In that cottage, peace would stay.
We have come to Annapolis to celebrate Enrico’s 50th birthday. From the brick patio behind this house built in 1834, I see a bird has made a nest in a windowsill. I catch glimpses through the glass door of Sofia browning butter for a chocolate cake, and Virginia, roasting carrots and crisping focaccia.
A ship horn blares. Country singers harmonize. And a hot rod revs along Duke of Gloucester Street.
Here the sidewalks are carpets of bricks undulating over tree roots. Moss spreads over stone walls. Pear blossom petals drift over children playing behind a school.
But under this holy sky, a private haze persists. My shortcomings hound me. My mistakes are never far away. There’s always something else I need to do.
Here in Annapolis row houses are shoeboxes stacked in shades of turquoise, pink, royal, and sage. Midshipmen and women in navy suits with brass buttons and white peaked caps wander among the weekend crowds.
We treat our selves as if we were structures that need constant rehabbing, renovating, adding on. Addresses speak of our value. New walls promise starting over.
The lights in the house hum as taupe stratus clouds spill across the once-clear sky. At the run-down house next door, Budweiser cans lie abandoned on a mirror shard. A paper lantern has fallen under the magnolia. Diana calls to me with wet hair and pajamas, “Dinner is almost ready!”
I am blessed. But if I look out into the world, there’s always a prize I’m missing. I am cursed.
When I get tired of myself, I rest.
In the channel of the heart, in the center of the body that grows up and grows old, there is a refuge. A place where love is unending and the search is over. I know if I can stay here inside, I will always be home.