Bullying, but in a good way

In Buffalo we have the Darwin Martin House complex, an amazing preservation of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture. The books all call it a collaboration between Frank Lloyd Wright and Darwin Martin. I have a friend, who has lived in Frank Lloyd Wright houses, who calls it bullying. But in a good way. “Stop,” says the house. “We might let you in, we might not.” “Don’t tarry at the entry way,” says the house with its low ceilings. “Come this way.” And so you do, to see the gold sun at the fireplace, the magic of light through glass, as the space opens up around you.

I am in a house now that says “Come outside.” “Spread out tables and set them.” And so we did. “Have a parade.” And so we did. Round we went to the music, a conga line of four year olds, fourteen year olds, seventy year olds and everyone in between, with pot lid cymbals and drums hit by wooden spoons. Around the tables, from the kitchen to dining room to hall to living room to breakfast nook, to kitchen again. Some people just danced. Some people danced and dried and twirled their tea towels over their heads and some people dried and slipped the dishes onto their shelves, when the conga line got them there. “Move,” this house says. “Have parties.” “Come outside!”

“Watch the sunrise,” says this house to me every morning. Sit at the kitchen table and catch the first pink and then the full color and then the slip into blues and then the clouds of the day. “ Sit on the bench and watch the birds soaring overhead.” It is just me and the birds and the dawn and the promise.

I spent some time yesterday with a sleeping grandchild. When I tiptoed back upstairs, I peeked into the living room. The house was quiet. Nobody. Same in the dining room. They were all upstairs on the porch off the bedrooms, watching the sunset. The house made them do it.

I think that our kids have moved into a bullying house. But in a good way.