So, perhaps I should share how I “met Bertha”?
Okay, but…trust me, it isn’t pretty.
I was waiting for my dog to poop!
I know, right? Seriously. I’m sure someone up there thought this was ridiculously funny! But that’s how it happened. I wish I could say I was in some deep trance state. Sitting in meditation, or that I saw light, went thru a tunnel and all that. But the truth is, I took my first “Bertha inspired” photo holding my son’s Nikon in one hand, and a pooping dog’s leash in the other.
Trust me, that’s not a story I frequently share.
I guess it’s also not fair to imply that the craziness started there. It had actually started about a year before that. I was working as a college professor with my youngest son still living at home. I had a beautiful (and very normal) suburban house.
But driving home from Kroger’s on a bright sunny afternoon, I’d decided to take a meandering route. And there it was: A house – a beautiful, magnificent, artistic, marvelous, falling down, house.
Like a mouth to a flame, it drew me in.
I mean seriously, IT DREW ME IN!
Attempting to drive anywhere else was was pointless. Again and again, I found myself drawn to it. Frequently sitting in meditation the driveway. I know it sounds insane, but could FEEL this house. I could feel the squirrels eating her walls. The mice, the snakes, the water cascading through her open roof. Plants grew entwined with her windows and walls. I felt her grief: her longing for a lost magnificence.
So… yep… you guest it: I set out to save her.
On the verge of being condemned (oh yeah- it was really that bad!), her elderly owners, both unable to care for themselves had been forcibly removed. It took me nearly a year of paperwork, inspections, estimates, and communication with a distant relative, to finally obtain the key.
But alas, she was mine.
I was thrilled! My children were terrified!
As my youngest and I stood inside, surveying the endless mess. I commented on how wonderful the energy felt. Full of fresh air (funny how having no roof will do that :), and light, I told my son: “I feel like I can dance and sing here!” He looked at me like I’d sprouted two heads.
And perhaps his reaction was fortuities. I never did dance or sing while living in that house. But, I did start channeling a photographer.