Daydream in yellow

Out in the country, out where the blossoms do not hang sooty or false on their branches like their city relatives, there are lately some brand-new houses for sale. I can't afford, but I love to look. Rising at dawn this morning, before any other schemers after sweet permanence were stirring, I drove far out on a dirt road to see a little canary-yellow house on top of a hill overlooking orchards.

Oh, how I love a canary-yellow house, or for that matter, how I love any house whose color falls on my mind not like a brick but like a feather. Parking my car near the garage, I stood for a long time in the soft dawn light, looking at the house and trying not to breathe too vigorously. It was only a little house, after all, and in the vigor of my wonder I didn't want to blow it down.

The real estate agency handling it had left it open to the public, so I went inside. The first room was the living room, the ceiling and walls only partly painted, the floorboards splashed here and there with something white. What was it? Paint? Or had a canary with sugar-coated wings flown through one open window and out another, accidentally spilling part of its sugar in between?

In the middle of the wall opposite the door was a huge fireplace. It seemed to grin and at the same time to glare at me. I felt simultaneously welcomed and reminded that the fireplace's efforts on behalf of coziness should never be taken for granted.

To the left of the living room were two rooms, a big bedroom whose window directly overlooked the orchards, and a bathroom in which the bathtub, not yet installed, lay upside down in a debris of pipes and loose pieces of tile, like a baby whale a storm had blown far from home and beached there.

And to the right of the living room were four rooms. A kitchen with little decals of butter-yellow suns on the walls. A laundry room whose air tickled my nose with rumors of lint. A dining room where I almost tripped over a roll of linoleum smiling in its placid sleep. And finally a small back bedroom whose window, oblivious of the orchards in front, doted upon a wood in the distance. From there the trees waved at it with flowerless, almost prosaic branches, as if to say, ''Thanks be to the window that isn't orchard-keeping. Long sunny smiles to it, and short rainy weeping.''

Ah well, I thought, as I sat on the living room floor taking a taste of the white stuff splashed there (ick, it was paint, not sugar), someday I'll have a nice house like this. I'll sit before a cozy fire and write my memoirs, Hurray for Me. I won't always be arising from the tent at dawn to ride my camel over the yellow sands.

Before I left the house I went through every room reciting The Good Blessing: ''House be nice/House be airy/To dwellers human/Or canary.''

Whoever buys it, it's safe now.

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