159) Let us think that we build forever

by Gail on December 23, 2011

I picked up on this quote while reading a very popular blog, Young House Love:

“When we build, let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone. Let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for; and let us think, as we lay stone on stone,that a time is to come when those stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say, as they look upon the labor, and wrought substance of them, See! This our father did for us.”  – John Ruskin

I do not assume that any of our own children will live in this house, but I see this as advice to build for future generations, with long-lasting methods and materials that will not fall apart or rot within a few years. Again, I think of the book, “The World Without Us” by Alan Weisman. It’s a fascinating look at what would happen if all humans were suddenly not here on this earth. Within hours, without humans to control our built environment, systems would break down and there would be floods and other disasters. Certain materials (stone, ceramic, concrete) will last through millenia.

And, while we’re on this theme of building forever, this Patrick Watson (and the Cinematic Orchestra) song, introduced to me by our eldest son, comes to mind:

To Build a Home

There is a house built out of stone
Wooden floors, walls and window sills
Tables and chairs worn by all of the dust
This is a place where I don’t feel alone
This is a place where I call my home

And I built a home
For you
For me

Until it disappeared
From me
From you
And now, it’s time to leave and turn to dust
Out in the garden where we planted the seeds
There is a tree that’s old as me
Branches were sewn by the color of green

Ground had arose and passed its knees

By the cracks of the skin I climbed to the top
I climbed the tree to see the world
When the gusts came around to blow me down
I held on as tightly as you held onto me
I held on as tightly as you held onto me

And I built a home
For you
For me

Until it disappeared
From you

And me

And now, it’s time to leave and turn to dust

This hauntingly beautiful song refers to the meaning of home. We humans will leave it and turn to dust. The home will endure, if we’ve done our job right.

I hope the love (of each other, of craft, of materials, of beauty, of our planet, of work) will somehow communicate itself through the “soul” or “spirit” of this home (and of all the homes from which we salvaged materials), to all who enter here, even after we’re gone.

 

Sharing with Brambleberry Cottage’s Time Travel Thursday, Fireflies and Jellybeans

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