Welcome Marianne, I am delighted to hear from you. My husband and I have spent some happy time in Bavaria. I hope you come to love your simple life there.
My life in Innermost House was almost unbelievably simple. It seems many people simply cannot believe it. Even those who knew us during our seven years in the woods sometimes expressed something approaching disbelief about it.
When my friend Kent Griswold of the Tiny House Blog visited us during our last weeks in the house, he admitted that he had a little trouble believing it before he saw it with his own eyes. He entitled his article about his visit, "Seeing is Believing."
After we left, the nice people from whom we rented our little writing room down in town finally confessed that they considered our life at Innermost House a fabulous fiction. They would not be persuaded that it was real.
I have sometimes wondered exactly what it is about Innermost House that is so unbelievable. It cannot be that the house is small, since a whole movement of small houses has arisen since we built it. It cannot be that we live without electricity, because after all, tens of millions of people in the world—and millions here on this continent—do without it.
It cannot be that it is the woods; thousands of people still live in the woods even in our own county. It cannot be that we live by fire, for that too is still common enough in rural areas.
I think it cannot be that our house is neat and clean, because thousands of pages in hundreds of magazines are published each month showing rooms just as cleanly. And most of our own houses—or at least our parents' houses!—are just as tidy.
It cannot be that we live with books, for everyone has seen pictures of home libraries with many more books than we have. It cannot be our cultivated rusticity in a world with whole magazines devoted to log cabin life. It cannot be the food we eat, judging from the crowds at the farmers market!
It cannot be that our life is too simple, when there is always someone to object that it should be simpler. It cannot be that it is too spiritual in a world where monasticism still has currency. It cannot be that it is too self-reliant when I don't grow so much as a green bean.
I cannot think of a single element or aspect of Innermost House that is in itself more than just a little unusual. It is not an invention. It is not any kind of wonder of modern society. It is not unnatural and it is not supernatural. From the moment we moved in I have felt that it is the most natural thing in the world.
When I look back, I remember my own complete inability to foresee Innermost House before we built it. Not even my husband could foresee the result of the structure forming in his hands. It was the seeing that finally made the believing.
I remember when we returned from Europe, where our years of searching had finally accelerated toward a steep center until we seemed to fall down a hole to the heart of the earth. We were in Iowa. It was the dead of winter.
Michael stood at a high window in a hospital overlooking the frozen town of his birth. He paced the floor back and forth and said there must be some veil—something—that still stood between us and the answer, concealing it from us in plain sight. He could sense it, but he could not see it.
What is it that conceals from us the humble object of our hearts' desiring? Why should something so simple be so mysterious? This weekend I would like to invite your reflections and questions about any aspect of the mystery of Innermost House, the life we lived in it and the path that led to it.
What is so difficult to believe about life in Innermost House?