Pam asks, "Diana, do you think you would like to replicate IH in a new location in the East, or do you feel as though your new home will have a different feel to it in keeping with the East's landscapes and unique energy?"
On Wednesday we spoke a little about how the outward appearance of the next Innermost House may change to knit together with its new home in Place—what Al calls its "conditions and traditions." Yet we expect those outward changes to be modest, and inside I expect the house hardly to change at all.
Houses outwardly similar to Innermost House were built at the advancing edge of frontier life for more than a century, from the Blue Ridge to the coast of California. Adapted to local materials and details, the house is at home in a whole continent of places. I'm grateful to think that it would be fitting in nearly any American woodland. It belongs to the woods, and takes on the character of its habitat naturally.
Still, an opportunity might arise that would call forth a clapboard house or a log house, or a stone or an adobe house instead, and any of those could easily be adapted for an Innermost House in Place.
But inside!—if I could, I would have taken the whole inside of Innermost House with me, exactly as it was. And when we rebuild I would not wish to change a thing. Not a board or beam, not a cast of light or shadow, not a knothole. I would not make it an inch larger or smaller or shorter or taller. I am bonded with it in some inward way I cannot fully explain. It is strangely impersonal. I see it pictured and I hear a thousand echoes of the Conversation that created it from within. To me it is the final embodiment of that mystery we sought outwardly as Place, and inwardly as the Conversation.
At the heart of Innermost House lies a mystery. That mystery drew me ever backward from the world in which I found myself, just as it drew my husband forward through it. I have been called backward since I was a child, and I suppose that is what they meant. I lean backward with all my nature toward something I remember before remembering, just as my husband inclines forward toward something he will not believe does not exist.
So our search led us backward and forward at once, and every step we took had to satisfy us both. Because it was our path together, the way toward Place that opened up at last into Innermost House was a kind of standing still in motion, a moving stillness. It was a Conversation in Place.
I am not an improver of things. Things come to me or they fail to come. I can only say yes or no. With all my life I would say yes again to Innermost House a hundred times. Wherever it next arises it will put on the mystery of its new woodland Place like a changed suit of clothes. But withinside it will enclose the soulsame mystery of one circling, changeless Conversation.