I don’t really believe in ghosts, but it’s fun to pretend. If there is word about a haunted house or spirits roaming in woods, it is always fun to pretend that you believe, and to shiver with anticipated fear.
What I did not expect was to come to believe that places do have a certain mood, for lack of a better description. This I can categorically state is true out of recent personal experience.
As many of you know, my Mom has been hospitalized twice in the past fortnight. So I had to move out of the house and go back to live in the apartment where I had lived all my life up to 12 years ago. My parents had signed the lease to this apartment two weeks before I was born, and I have lived all my life in that one apartment. So there are a million memories of childhood, adolescence and adulthood, all mixed up and intertwined, with a plethora of feelings and moods that have soaked into the very walls, floors and ceilings of that apartment. I now sincerely believe that. Having had to renovate the apartment after we lived there with six large dogs for over a year, you would think that you have wiped the slate clean and that it would be a brand new apartment. But no, the moods still reign in there. Sometimes a mood would be so strong it would be like swimming in paraffin oil. It is thick and viscous and you can actually feel the mood. I have encountered many rather heavy moods in this apartment, but always attributed them to the fact that I was staying there while my Mom was in the hospital, and that alone would darken my mood. But this did not at all explain why certain areas in the house had a totally different mood.
After spending the night there, I usually wake up totally exhausted. As though I had been exerting tremendous effort all during the night and wake up tired and drained, instead of rested and refreshed.
On the other hand, when the water heater broke down in the apartment and I had to leave and spend the night in the house, so I could have a decent shower, the mood there, at the house, was totally different. My circumstances had not changed, my Mom was still in the hospital, with no change. So why was the mood different? I guess it is a tribute to the place and not the circumstance. Subconsciously I must have known that, because my insistence on driving all the way out to the house, after dark and spending the night and half the next day there, was more of a compulsion than a decision. And it wasn’t even my idea in the first place. It was suggested to me by a friend, as a break from the strain of all those hours spent at the hospital. But once the idea took, it became a compulsion. It was like everything conspired to make it happen.
The moment I arrived at the house I was greeted by the barking of my dogs, and this sound alone lifted my spirits. My staff were solicitous and asked after my Mom, but the moment I entered the house I felt it. The air was light, there was warmth, there was peace, there was love. With every step I took, and going up the stairs, the dogs running up before me, my breathing became lighter and the unconscious band I had around my chest started to expand and slip off. I found myself taking deep breaths of beautiful, light air and feeling my mood lighten and expand, my muscles started to relax after being held tight without even realizing I was so stiff.
A shiver of pure pleasure ran through me when I entered my bedroom, but more so when I got to the bathroom. I had missed my bathroom so much. I don’t really spend that much time in there, but I do spend quality time in my bathroom. I guess I am more like my cats than I imagined, I never realized I was so attached to the place. After changing into something comfortable and curling up in my favorite chair, I started thinking about that feeling that came over me when I got home. Why was it so different from the feeling I had in the apartment. The apartment had been my home all my life, but I have lived in this house for just a dozen years. Why did the apartment tie me up in knots, while the house had the effect of making me relax and feel peaceful. I have not had a full night’s sleep or rest in the apartment over the past fortnight. I am not a deep sleeper anyway, but curled up in my bed in the house, with all the cats and dogs around me, I am feeling so much warmth and love, so much peace and joy, I might even get a full night’s rest.
So places do have a spirit of their own. I don’t know if this spirit or mood was imposed on the place by the people who lived there, or if these walls have a life of their own that they impose on those who shelter within them. Whichever way it is, the contrast between the apartment and the house is so flagrant, I now understand this unconscious compulsion I had to come out to the house and try to spend as much time there as I could under the circumstances. The house is now recharging my batteries, it is soothing my ruffled spirit and calming my mind. It has already relaxed my tense body, and I hope by tomorrow, when it is time to go back into the turbulent sea of life, that I would be better equipped to meet it head on and in full.