Ivan and Lance’s home is one of those places that flows gracefully from the partnership that creates it. Taking in their back yard through the disappearing reservoir of wine in my glass, I realized the other day how much at home I felt there. They’ve been our friends for years, our son knows them as his Uncles. I’m always blown away by the beauty they create together, but I’ve never paid attention to how received I feel in their home.
I don’t stop to think about how much community flows from the couples in my life. Not just couples with children like us, but also partnerships of just two. This is not to say single people don’t create community or beauty in their homes, or that communal homes don’t also change the world. There’s just something satisfying about watching the chemistry of two lovers give birth to a place. It is intimacy made tangible and shared with others.
Yesterday I was working on the roof of our cob studio when it began to rain. Looking down I saw red leaves the color of burning coals wet beneath a canopy of deep green. The first rains of Fall had arrived, bumping the garden we’ve been developing a little closer to Nirvana. Smells awoke – colors ignighted, creatures emerged from dry burrows. This is not only a garden but part of us.
Our cob studio has felt the hands and feet of dozens of people since we began building it over a year ago. My wife Terry first imagined the new space before our shared sweat made it possible. Each step of the way has invited in participation from new friends. Not only is it being created from intimacy, it attracts the intimacy of community. We’re now pushing through the final stages of its birth.
We’ve only been here a few years but the risks we’ve taken together, the letting go we have both done, is starting to bear some sweet fruit. The main house is warm in the winter and cool most of the time in the summer. The land down by the road is looking less like a traffic wreck and the fruit trees are coming on strong. Everything is starting to feel like part of a greater whole. A place is being born through us.
Lance and Ivan have been working on their home together much longer than we have. Walking from the curb through their house and out into the back yard garden is like unwrapping a new gift with every step. One rare plant has colors I’ve never seen before. A room is so inviting you never want to leave. The enameled cross in the garden is surrounded by variegated leaves that seem to laugh. The more attention you pay to what is around you, the more you are fed when you are there.
Partners dream together, exchanging their desires and values in almost everything they do. Like trading caresses, talents overlap – dancing. A partnership’s alchemy can renew a home every day.
My wife and I were blessed to act as ministers when Ivan and Lance were married. Whenever I attend a wedding, but especially when I participate so directly in the ceremony, I feel I’ve taken a pledge to support that partnership however I can. The community supports the partnership, the partnership supports the community.
Our culture seems to prize more the romantic connection between lovers than the way a long term partnership can feed us all. Today I celebrate the partnerships that have welcomed me, fed me, given me hope, and reminded me of how much a gift life is. Their sacred fire’s should not be taken for granted, or stand untended by those who have been warmed by their flames.