Feb 6th 2012
Or rather spending a couple of days in one of his houses. Yes. That Frank. I’m in Ann Arbor for my nephew’s senior recital (he’s a jazz drummer) and my brother had the brilliant idea to rent Ann Arbor’s Frank Lloyd Wright house for the weekend. Tucked in a residential neighborhood (where else, I guess, but somehow a surprise) on a dirt road, not far from the university. We’re here in winter. The skies are gray, the leaves bare. Deer graze in the garden. Everything is wood, except the terra cotta colored cement floors. In my mother’s Raleigh neighborhood, where we are trying to sell her house, wood paneling is passé we’re told, but here it feels inevitable. There are no 90 degree angles; even the beds skew and my 5’5″ frame dangles off the end. It’s hard to imagine what it was like to live here. This was a home — I am staying in the “son’s room” — but I cannot feel the life he lead ensconced in these austere shapes. As I lie here on the bed I wonder how these angles will play upon my bones. I am trying to absorb them, to feel what might have compelled him. But for the moment he eludes me. Throughout the house books are scattered about him and his life, but I resist. I want to experience him directly through his creation. How often do you get to live inside someone else’s imagination without harm to either party? Today is Friday and I am here until Sunday morning. I’ll report more then.
Sunday. Flying home. I showered with Frank in his diamond shaped tiled stall, bumping my elbows against the walls. Slept in the too short bed. Communed with the deer. And peeked through the window of the unheated tea house, discovering the perfect spot for a solitary meditation retreat I will never take. I grooved to my nephew’s fabulous music. But I did not figure out Frank. In two short days who could? I did sort out that he did not favor the deep comfort of chairs you can sink into, preferring instead those resembling birds in flight. And his passion for dim recessed lighting made me grateful for the invention of reading devices with backlit screens. I did not figure him out. But he is in me now. And there’s no telling if, when, or how he will decide to come out.