This Old House

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Old houses were built to breathe.

I forget who told me that but I like to think about how many deep salty sips this old home has taken. On stormy nights when the wind blows, I can feel its inhale as it creaks, swells, and fills with air. It was erected a century ago, and at three stories high, it was a thing of beauty in its prime.

Since then, younger versions have appeared on either side; their foundations are pressed as close to the coast as possible. They are striking; their new facades like puffed chests and their insides are sealed tight—there are very few cracks to be found for breath.

Just over their shoulders the old home sits behind. Its ceilings droop and floors sink—loose and content, this place has sunken into itself. Furniture is mismatched and a lifetime's worth of items have piled up on tables and have been tucked into closets.

Old homes missed the minimalism movement. They are like time capsules storing precious items for safe keeping: temporary messes and meaningful trinkets, but memories too. Yes, there are stories buried in the walls of old homes.

I used to think wisdom came from traveling the world and seeing as many places as possible until I experienced all of the complications and complexities of human beings—the large and small moments of joy, sorrow, forgiveness, and gentleness—that occur inside the wooden framework of a home.

As the wind slips beneath this old home’s jacket of gray shingles, brushes past pipes and wires and travels deep into its belly before exhaling, I start to understand.

Old homes were built to breathe because old homes have souls.

WritingKelly Chase