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Hill House

Jason Gurley
Jason Gurley
1 min read

The practice of naming one's home isn't common in my family. (I can't remember a single instance, actually.) When my wife and I bought this house five years ago, we gave it a name. I don't remember if we did this intentionally, or if it came about because I had to name our WiFi network something, but 'Hill House' came easily. We don't have a sign or anything, though. We aren't that family.

We like it here. We're on a few acres, most of which are still forested. The land is exceptionally hilly. It's an uphill walk from the house to the garden and its little shed; it's a downhill walk to the well house, or the modest orchard the previous owners planted. Even the driveway slopes to the narrow lane, itself a steep hill at the top of a longer one, that leads to our house.

The obvious inspiration for the name is Shirley Jackson's novel, even though this house is not old enough to be properly attended by ghosts. The woods here are haunted by cougars, however, which is a whole thing for me. (Recently one was spotted in a neighborhood a little over a mile from here; I've gone down the rabbit hole about cougar statistics ever since, and am more than a little paranoid about what's lurking in those trees.)

Hill House has been a creative home for us. In the basement, I write books. My daughter builds forts for our cat, or decorates and re-decorates the reading nook she fashioned in her bedroom. My wife builds roller skates in the garage, or lifts all the weights. My mother-in-law raises chickens and grows vegetables.

A week ago my wife prepared a lasagna with squash and zucchini from the garden. It's gone now. I am haunted by its memory. Perhaps resurrection is an option.

hill house