Before the lands were riddled with metal and lights, a man and a woman built a house. It was in the heart of the warm months, and the nights were so clear that they merely crafted their four walls of bundled sticks and left the roof open to the stars. Building their house was incredibly easy – effortless almost – and their first months were filled with smiles and freedom, tangled on their floor laughing and whispering into the early morning light.
Then one day, a storm rolled over the mountains. Giant, grey clouds glowed bright with lightning and it’s anger shook the ground. The man and the woman trembled in the downpour, filled with fear and uncertainty about the future. Their house was flattened in the storm.
After much deliberation, they decided to build another house. This time, they would build it closer to the valley walls for protection. The woman was delighted by having the river to look out on, and they soon found excitement in building their new home. The man would return dripping with sweat, exhausted from chopping trees. The woman worked tirelessly to help clear the ground for their new home and to gather food and cook for them each night. Together, their hands created four thick, oak walls and a sturdy roof. The hours of labor and frustration and failures were dwarfed by the feeling of gratification that overwhelmed them as they slept in their warm house through the winter months. Blankets of snow and screaming winds raged outside, but they spent their nights singing old songs and playing cards in the light of their fireplace.
Then the snow melted, and the peaceful river became an angry, raging force of nature. It ripped trees from it’s banks and cut at the soil. The man and the woman watched, broken hearted, as pieces of their house were torn apart and swept away in the flood.
The man and the woman were devastated, and the storms continued to relentlessly pour over them. The man and the woman cried many tears. They both considered what to do next: try again and face another failure or depart on separate paths.
After many nights, they finally made a decision. They left the valley. The soles of their feet cracked and callused walking the mountain ridges. When they finally arrived, their tired eyes looked to each other and lips moved. They turned their backs on each other, and the man marched into the trees to find the best trees and the woman began clearing the spot they had chosen. They learned from their previous mistakes. They built their walls stronger this time. The man built the porch the woman had always wished for. The woman created a mud mortar to seal the cracks in the walls to prevent the wind whistling that had frustrated the man before. The man and the woman worked on the house for months.
Finally, the house was finished. The man and the woman were much older now, and their long talks had become clipped by familiarity. Smile lines had been etched into their faces, along with the worry lines. The man and the woman laid down for the first time in their new house. The man’s rough hands gently wrapped around the woman, and the same whisper brought the same laugh. The same familiar heart beat skipped inside their ribcages, and they fell asleep within the sturdy walls of their new, safe home.
The years passed,
and the seasons came and went,
but the storms never shook the home the man and the woman built again.