While reading Pollan’s apt descriptions, I was struck by the many layers of planning, the stages of completion, and the small victories that became beautiful happenstances of the building process. It brought me back to my childhood days of wood glue-covered monstrosities and sore thumbs from missed nails. It brought to mind the smell of freshly sanded wood-- the pine, the cherry, the oak and the maple. There is a certain comfort found in a well-built house- a comfort from its materials, from the care of placement among its surroundings, the direction of light, the space we move in. This prompted me to think about the spaces I occupy, and how they make me feel.
As a Marine wife and mother of two homeschooled children, our home bears particular significance. It is always changing for us; at the same time, it is a constant in our lives. My children thrive on the fact that they know they have a safe place to call home. This book led me to think: What if we could keep the same house every time we move? There is a whole movement, a generation rising up who longs for the freedom to move from place to place. They seek relief from the burdens of homeownership, but at the same time acknowledge their need for this refuge. Although my husband and I are not shopping for a tiny house at the moment, the idea is both liberating and constricting. No more packing and unpacking. No more carting around objects we do not need or use. However, where would we all sleep? Could we stand being confined to such tight quarters? And how does one cook in a tiny house?
The ability to build shelter far outreaching mere protection which, hopefully, defies water and gravity places humans above animals. However, the fact that we need and depend on this shelter to survive places us below angels. It just goes to show that we are at God’s provisional mercy and we should not take for granted that we have a place of our own.
Tiny Houses will be on display at Salem Church Library in Fredericksburg, VA for the month of March. I encourage you to visit during normal operating hours.