On the street I'm staying on in Edmonton, there is an empty house that I assume is condemned. It has obviously been empty for some time. A window on the top level is broken and part of the front facade is torn down. A weak, limp string of red caution tape is held by thin wooden rods at intervals around it like a thin scarf stretched over a cold street person. It is at a strange point between derelict and nearly normal, with a perfect satellite dish perched on the roof, receiving nothing. I felt a strange kinship with that house tonight. I stood in the night, lit to that peachy-orange of leftover city lights and I resonated with it's emptiness, it's damage, it's solitude and strangeness. Emptiness surrounded by fullness. Only a little warmer than the space without, the softly falling snow gracing its eaves, the sharp icicles ever falling, never moving, the house sits inert and sedentary. The wires in its walls transmit no power, no information, no pipes flow with life-giving, clean water. And yet, curiously, it beckoned me as empty places always do, with secrets to be told and imagined memories to be evicted from it's rooms, the last tenants to survive.
This moment was not remarkable because I felt kinship to that house. Instead of mourning for it, instead of seeing it as something final and deathly, it came alive in my mind. I saw the possibility of warm light overflowing it's boundaries, of crews of people fixing the broken facade, smiling and laughing to each other as they worked. I saw a TV's light flashing from the window after dark, the lonely satellite in use again. A child in pyjamas running and jumping on top of the parents on the couch, and glow in the dark stars on the ceiling in the room with the once-broken window. And when I blinked away from that moment, I stood and smiled in the mild and friendly cold, knowing that, in the company of friends and helpers, with a small budget made larger with many found bargains (both in money and in time), and an outlook of possibility - I was going to change for the better over many days of work. Someday my body and mind would feel like home again. Someday the emptiness I feel will be replaced by fulness. I am waiting for it now, more than ever.