The house/room/attic that I dream of making, inhabiting and remaking; – where is it? What will it seem like to strangers seeing it for the first time? Many articles I have read of poet-build abodes, and rarely have they captured any true poetic image of the space. Descriptions of construction method, natural environment, recyled materials abound, and all very accurate in their own way – but hardly ever any clue as to the loving comfort and intamacy that one has with such a place. A comment such as “I feel very at home here, in this place that I have made.” tells us nothing of what it actually is like for this maker to be at home.
“Might I,” quavered Mary, “might I have a bit of earth?”
In her eagerness she did not realize how queer the words
would sound and that they were not the ones she had meant
to say. Mr. Craven looked quite startled.
“Earth!” he repeated. “What do you mean?”
“To plant seeds in–to make things grow–to see them
come alive,” Mary faltered.
He gazed at her a moment and then passed his hand quickly
over his eyes.
“Do you–care about gardens so much,” he said slowly.
“I didn’t know about them in India,” said Mary. “I was
always ill and tired and it was too hot. I sometimes
made littlebeds in the sand and stuck flowers in them.
But here it is different.”
Mr. Craven got up and began to walk slowly across the room.
“A bit of earth,” he said to himself, and Mary thought
that somehow she must have reminded him of something.
When he stopped and spoke to her his dark eyes looked almost
soft and kind.
“You can have as much earth as you want,” he said.
“You remind me of some one else who loved the earth and
things that grow. When you see a bit of earth you want,”
with something like a smile, “take it, child, and make it
“May I take it from anywhere–if it’s not wanted?”
“Anywhere,” he answered. “There! You must go now,
I am tired.” He touched the bell to call Mrs. Medlock.
“Good-by. I shall be away all summer.”
— From “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett.