They’re tearing down the mansion.

They’re tearing down the mansion at the corner of my street.

Just a couple of days ago, I noticed the doors were open and the windows were gone. There were trucks parked outside and people stirring around. I thought, oh boy! Somebody’s finally remodeling the old place.

Then this morning when I walked by, bam. Bulldozer. And it’s gone.

I wish I had a “before” shot to show you, since “mansion” probably isn’t the correct word…but it was a big ol’ Victorian-looking house, empty ever since I’ve lived here, so it always held this Haunted Mansion-ish mystique for me. On evening jogs, with no one else around, I’d move a little faster past this house to get to the corner of the block.

Those big, empty windows and that big, empty lawn. All the shadows, eerie silence, and the story that I’d never get to know.

When I first moved in, there were big pieces of particle board with ominous spray-painted No Trespassing messages, threatening in no uncertain terms that violators would be shot. (No, really.) Those didn’t last long, but the “stay away” vibe did. So I never got to take a closer look. I don’t think I even stepped off the sidewalk onto the lawn.

And now it’s gone.

All through my run, I mused on blog-able metaphors for this morning’s discovery.
Sometimes destruction has to make room for growth…
Nothing lasts forever…

I thought about the book I just started, The Antidote (which I ordered immediately after reading about it on It doesn’t release in the U.S. until November, so I bought it from Amazon UK. Such the literary hipster am I…). As the synopsis tells you, the book takes a different look at the “positive thinking” that pervades self-help, proposing instead a “negative path” to happiness… I’m only on page 42, but already I feel like he’s playin’ my song. Doesn’t it just make sense that allowing yourself to accept (not attach to, but also not ignore) the dark parts of life will make it easier for you to be content, and ironically even happy, when those dark parts show up? Because they will. Oh boy, do they ever.

Reading that book and watching the house get torn apart both brought to mind this snippet of a Rumi poem I found once. So I looked it up, and here’s the first stanza:

It’s the old rule that drunks have to argue
and get into fights.
The lover is just as bad. he falls into a hole.
But down in that hole he finds something shining,
worth more than any amount of money or power.

Last night the moon came dropping its clothes in the street.
I took it as a sign to start singing,
falling up into the bowl of sky.
The bowl breaks. Everywhere is falling everywhere.
Nothing else to do.

Here’s the new rule: break the wineglass,
and fall toward the glassblower’s breath.

Fall toward the glassblower’s breath. That still makes my brain go mmmm…years after I read it for the first time.

Nothing lasts forever…
Sometimes destruction has to make room for growth…

So I thought about all that. And other things. But mostly I just kept wishing I would have, just once, disobeyed those No Trespassing signs.


2 thoughts on “They’re tearing down the mansion.

  1. About a year ago a house that I once lived in with my then wife and kids was torn down. It was the house I brought my 2nd some home to and the house where I had to tell my sons that their mommy didn’t love daddy anymore and that daddy had to leave. As I stared at the pile of rubble…it just made me relive so many years of highs and a lot of lows.

    When I saw that picture, it made me wonder about the folks who lived there and the memories they would have had seeing their old home be ripped down.

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