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  • Writer's pictureZibby Wilder


Updated: Jan 11, 2021

This morning I took my first steps into the house Maria built for Georgia. Trying to tidy my unwashed hair, I untangled a small chaff of wheat. A dry reminder of my mowing activities of the previous few days.

As I let it go with the wind, I was struck by the connection between the house I was standing in front of and the one I left just yesterday -- a little farmhouse cottage in Walla Walla.

For Maria, the home and studio atop the hill in Abiquiu was a labor of love for someone she adored. She put her heart and soul into building Georgia's house but never got to live there. A sore point until her last day.

My little house atop the hill in Walla Walla was a place I adored and my plans for it and the farm, similar labors of love. It was the most beautiful place I have ever lived but my hopes, too, were foiled. I'll likely carry this to my last day as well.

Yesterday, I locked its door for a final time and hid away the key. My heart was a little heavy to leave it but buoyed knowing it would soon become a place of new adventure for others.

I wish Maria had had that chance but in the end, she put too much of herself into it. Giving away her heart to a person and a place that could not make room for her.

Houses aren't just places to live. They are places where we build, and sometimes unbuild our lives. There's little rhyme or reason behind why we love some more than others...why some become true homes and others just vessels until we're ready to move on.

This morning, after watching that chaff of wheat float out over the Rio Chama valley, I turned and stepped over the threshold to this house Maria built. A tour group stood in the courtyard marveling at the beauty of the space and how it captured perfectly the sense of space that Georgia O'Keeffe required to create her beauty. I felt Maria with me, still soul-clenched about how her story there ended, but content that thousands of people each year get to experience her handiwork. Or should I say, heartwork.

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