Mack Williams: Walls and spaces
The other night, visiting my son, Jeremy, daughter-in-law, Rose, and mother-in-law, Doris in Yanceyville, I glanced over from watching British TV (a favorite of Doris) at a section of the wall behind the “de-decorated”, but as yet un-discarded Christmas tree.
This den section used to be not what I would refer to as “the great outdoors,” but instead, part of “the municipal outdoors” of the town of Yanceyville. The house was originally owned by my mother-in-law’s mother, Mary Jocelyn, who sold it to her daughter and son-in-law, Hoyt. They added on the den and two bedrooms, one of which, when vacated by their daughter Diane (when she married me), became Doris’ office, where she prepared peoples’ taxes (I still encounter people to this day, who remember her fondly in that respect.
Being that the inner den wall used to be part of the outer wall of the house, itself. It matches the home’s covering of “permastone.”Permastone is a sandy-looking, mixed-together concrete which resembles sedimentary rock without the layers wrought by time, and without the obligatory fossils from some bygone age.
Looking at that den-enclosed rock wall, I thought back to the time when the earliest pre-men and men lived surrounded by rock (caves), although “man-caves” of those days were without mega-size TVs and no particular view, just a hole(entrance) from which to keep a lookout for prospective, approaching enemies).
I also thought back to my own, and much more recent “time gone by” from when I came from Salisbury to Yanceyville in 1974 and got married, all the way up to my most recent epoch”of time at age sixty eight.
While sitting there in thought, I noticed one stone near the tree seemed to have a pale green tint to it. It wasn’t a green shadow cast by the tree(pretty much impossible), so I wondered if it was the remnant of an “algal green” from the years of the stone’s exposure to the elements, possibly only partly removable by pressure washing prior to the house’s addition.
Who knows? When that space at which I was looking was outside, perhaps a bush natively grew there, where for many years now, a Christmas fir has annually “grown”(rather “sawedly”). This year, that “non-native den tree” stayed inside long enough to represent both the Magi’s visit and part of the time afterwards when they had to take the long way home (wasn’t that a 70’s song?) to avoid King Herod’s murderous anti-Messianic tendencies. Boone’s Daniel Boone Inn sort of had the best of outdoor-indoor worlds at one time, with the situation of a tree growing up through one of its dining area floors. But I think it had to be finally removed because its expanding, living wood endangered the dead, hammered, wood around it which had been laid out much earlier, blueprint specifications.
I thought of the many times my little young family visited in that “reclaimed outdoor” space in the den, watching TV following Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, enjoying Doris’ homemade stew after coming in from being bundled up for the Yanceyville Christmas parade, opening Christmas and birthday presents, both back then and now, and participating in such mundane things as watching “Lawrence Welk” with in-law parents, as I did, growing up with my own parents. Nowadays, 92 year-old Doris particularly likes “Wheel of Fortune,” “Jeopardy,” “Lawrence Welk,”and “Midsomer Murders.”
It was a place that had been re-claimed from the space of the outside windy, rainy, snowy, sunlit, moonlit, starlit world, then to be powered by heat and air pump, and the different measured spaces within, being re-engineered for the purposes of work, comfort, conversation, and sleep.
It is a well-known fact that many species of animals live longer in captivity than in the wild; and so, it seems the same with memories, made and “captured” within walls and rooves.