Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wouldn't that be Cool? Oct'09

This Oct. of 2009 marks two years since beginning this House Sculpture. In that time I have found this to be as psychological a journey as it is a building process. As the construction of this house continues, my personal psyche seems to be undergoing deconstruction. I've noticed for sometime now that what I am doing here is some form of walking meditation. Old memories, current unresolved issues and internal chatter are constant companions. As I work on any variety of projects my mind follows all sorts of pathways (in addition to visualizing and measuring the goal of a completed home) that correspond to different parts of my psyche. It occurs to me that in dreams the mental framework of the dreamer is often represented by a house. Different rooms tend to represent corresponding aspects of the dreamer's psychology. For instance the basement holds old memories or unresolved issues. In turn the attic typically represents higher awareness; the bedroom, sex; the bathroom, the release of old unwanted "dirty" emotions, etc.. This is very general and the representations vary widely with different individuals. In my case some of these representations have been very accurate in past dreams. Currently not so much. I recently had two dreams that concerned the house I am building.

Last night I dreamed that I was on the land with my Dad. I think we were cutting firewood. It was near dusk. We were working nearby the house. My Dad went to get something from the house and in his absence a car pulled up full of people, all roughly my age. I recognized a few but they were not friends; at best acquaintances. They all got out of the car and immediately had a campfire going. Someone produced a joint and they passed it around. I took a drag as well. Around this time my Dad showed up and I introduced a couple of people I knew the names of. (In reality they are not familiar.) Everyone was very jovial but I began to feel rather put upon. Who were these people and what are they doing here? I wondered. I felt that they were intruding on something private. This was my land and I was spending time with my parents. At that point my Mom showed up driving a long old fashioned flatbed truck. I noticed that it had a flat rear tire.
The other dream I had while in Maine: I dreamed that Sarah showed up in the middle of the night and crawled into bed with me. In the morning we awoke to a huge construction crew with cranes and everything. They had begun to build a massive steel framework outside against the house. It dwarfed my house by comparison. I was horrified. It was an incredible intrusion and it was spoiling the modest dwelling I had created on my own. The crew was huge and worked very fast. Soon it had it's walls and roof and stadium seating was being erected inside. It looked like a huge theater with drapery and wall sconces. More and more people began showing up all dressed in formal attire. At some point I was informed that it was a wedding that was to take place. I wondered who was getting married and who were all these people and who had invited them? I didn't recognize a soul except for Sarah who I could only occasionally pick out of the crowd before she would disappear again.

I'm not sure what any of this means to me. There is certainly some fear of being intruded upon but I am unsure in what way it translates into reality.
Perhaps an update on this project is in order.

I arrived on the property on Friday 9. My parents were due to arrive on Wednesday so I had a few days to myself. During that time I worked on the entryway to the kitchen. I had previously put some stone blocks in place for the stairs and molded them to the foundation. I continued this work by finishing the foundation and putting up a timber structure to support a ceiling/floor above the entryway. It was about this time that I had a flash of creative brilliance. It occurred to me that I should build a tower that would house a wind turbine and a Double-Decker greenhouse. Wouldn't that be cool?

It was such a profound shot of awesomeness to my original plans that I took a break on that part of the house for a day. I needed an idea this cool to foment in my mind for a day. Instead I began work on a pump house: a below-ground little structure to house my water pump that will be capable of drawing heat and electricity from the house and in turn deliver water to wherever I should need it. All I accomplished that day was digging the hole (easy with the backhoe) and setting cement blocks on a level course to build upon later (hard).

When my parents arrived they immediately set to work. My Mom cleaned the disgusting wreck that was my kitchen and made lunch while my Dad and I prepared the kitchen addition for it's roof. And that's how it went. They wanted to help in any way that they could and did so for the duration of their stay. In that time we put a roof over the future kitchen, thus opening it up as a usable, heatable space that brings southwestern light into the entire house. Also we built the first four feet of the pump house that is basically a brick and wooden sleeve that extends down into the ground. This was the hard part. What's left is to build a roof that connects it to the house so that vent pipe for electrical line, heating and incoming water pipe can be added with insulation. Doors or a lid for access will open to the outside.
My parents also cut a ton of firewood that I sorely needed for the upcoming winter what promises to be a cold one according to the Farmer's Almanac. It was a huge help and a great bonding experience. But all things come to their end. As has happened immediately after previous visits I was struck with a profound sense of loss and sadness when they drove away. Somehow this house project leaves my soul bare. I've never been been so emotionally connected with any art project or my family before but there is something bigger in building a house. It is a home, a nest. It is a primary task undertaken by a multitude species. Shelter is a basic need and is almost essential to raising a family. Humans need it more than any other animal yet they rarely build their own especially in modern times. And what is the importance of family? This is a question that I've never seriously pondered until I began this project. It first entered my mind when I was setting the stones for the hearth in the first month of construction... right after my folks left in October of 2007.
So now since their departure I have been thinking about the importance of having a son or daughter of my own. It is a conflicted subject of consideration. I have and still maintain the belief that the Anglo-Saxon side of humanity is a cancer upon the earth. It's ideals based in selfishness have practically enveloped all the other races of human kind. As a species we have destroyed and inflicted unspeakable amounts of pain and anguish upon our own and the rest of creation. We have done this not out of any sense of survival but out of arrogance and fear. We are a pitiful, spiteful race of beings. Even now with our technology and enormous wealth with the potential to do so much good in the world our most powerful seem only interested in more power... this is no great secret. Everybody knows this... I know this. I am ashamed of what I am, and somehow this shame has recently been charged to it's apex by it's compliment: the unconquerable love of my family. Interestingly this translates for me into the need to procreate and continue that family. I really don't understand it at present. I feel raw and troubled. But this is the consolation prize of being human: the ability to discern our history and present actions truthfully and do it better in the future.