The house is still. Not the hollow stillness of an empty house, nor the hushed, cowering stillness of a fighting house, nor yet the softly pulsing stillness of a sleeping house. It’s still with the resonating tremors of absorbed people wrapped in focused reflection, scuffling little movements belying their presence. It’s still with the muffled rumbles of a sleeping dog, unconsciously animated with the twitching adventures of his dream-world. It’s still with the soft whooshing of lukewarm air through barred vents, rising to find that it isn’t quite warm enough to reach the ceiling and settling in a comfortable puddle in the corner. It’s still with the mysterious mechanical clunking of a dormant refrigerator complaining of neglect. Maybe if there were something in it the dormant inhabitants would uncurl from their cozy nooks to venture into the cold unknown of the darkened house to seek out its delectable contents. But it’s the week before Christmas and the refrigerator may groan as it wants—there will be nothing in it until the careful stockpiling begins for Christmas dinner. Then the house will no longer be still. It will expand with the clutter and joy of Christmas morning, resound with the crinkling of crumpled wrappings and the puzzled whines of a hungry dog wondering why he has yet to be fed, clang with the hard metallic ring of pots of foamy white potatoes on the battered rim of the kitchen sink, the clicking of silverware on gleaming china, and the drowsy hum of evening chatter before lapsing into the contented stillness of a holiday night.
December 19, 2010