We were walking down the street, late on a quiet Sunday afternoon. The older kids were far ahead on their scooters. Nathan was carrying Kody whose sore toe was hurting again and Ezra was happily kicking in his stroller. And, as we like to do on many of our walks we were looking at houses, analyzing their character, their features and their style.
We walked past the tiny house on the corner and watched the lady who lives in it working in her lovingly planted garden. Her house is tiny, which is certainly not unusual in France, but this one draws our attention. White rendered, simple rectangular shape with just one shuttered window and a few steps up to a wooden door on the front, a couple of windows and a door at the back and one tiny window on one side, The roof is steep enough to very probably have loft or an attic but there are no windows for it. On the side are a few narrow steps down to a cellar, probably so she can store her surplus preserved fruits and vegetables from her garden. The block the house is on is quite large and the garden has been lovingly planned around it. A row of fruit trees along the front boarder, lawn paths winding between patches of this vegetable and that, plants requiring stakes at the back of the block. The garden is big and I’m sure it is quite productive. Or rather it will be, because you see, this house and garden are brand new.
And we wonder at that. We remember that as the building was being constructed we’d noticed how small it was and wondered what the building would be. As it became more obvious that it was a house we wondered if perhaps this was just the first stage, maybe it’s just a granny flat and they’ll build a bigger one to go along side, there was certainly room for one. But before the house was even finished the garden was beginning to be planted and it became obvious that there wouldn’t be a bigger one and we wondered why they had built it so small. There are many small houses around Orleans but they are almost all very old or built to fit into tiny spaces. Why, if they had the opportunity to build a new house on a large block, didn’t they build it bigger?
But yesterday as we walked past and saw her working in her garden, we realised. You know, maybe she chose to make her house small simply because she didn’t need it bigger. And we marvel that we wondered at it.