The doors of the tiny are more open than most. So should ours be.

“Dirt used to be a badge of honor.  Dirt used to look like work.  But we’ve scrubbed the dirt off the face of work, and consequently we’ve created this suspicion of anything that’s too dirty.” -Mike Rowe

Last holiday season (that is, over a year ago), I went to Trier, Germany to see some very special people in my life for the holidays. I was gone for a total of 2 weeks and didn’t have any one staying at the tiny house, loosely considering the fact that two felines run the joint. My mother and grandmother stopped in once a day at least to feed and love on them. No problems were reported. When I arrived home, it was very, very late and I had been traveling about 34 hours straight (between bus, flight, flight, flight, shuttle, taxi). When I finally stumbled in, I noticed the floor in front of the doors (human and cat) was filthy. So was the ladder – dirt was caked on the rungs so thick it was as if my cats had a hopscotch contest in the muddiest of muds and then ran directly up the ladder as a test of their leftover springy-ness. In my jetlagged state, I shrugged it off and crawled in to bed, brushing off the dirt enough to secure a semi-clean sleep.

I woke up perhaps an hour later to a low familiar growl directed at some loud smacking and crunching coming from the food bowl. Realizing both cats were laying on me, I jumped from the bed toward the sound of scuttling claws, then fur shoving out through the cat door – opening the door just in time to see an enormous raccoon jumping off the front porch and into the night. He came back two nights later but was promptly refused entry by both my dumbly-territorial cat and the fact that I was awake. I haven’t seen him, or his evidence, inside since.

As I was trying to get to back to sleep that first night, I realized that another unintended consequence of the tiny house being so small is that not only do I limit my own space, and that of my feline owners, but I expand the space in which I am a guest. For all I know, I invaded that raccoon’s area when I moved my tiny to where it now sits. His dirt-laid-tracks in my house should perhaps be more righty read as his re-marking his domain. In all likelihood, He was there first. While I cleaned the dirt’s traces off the wood, I’m trying hard not to erase the beauty that is being – quite literally – un-settled.

“If you’re lucky, and a building succeeds, the real product has many more dimensions than you can ever imagine. You have the sun, the light, the rain, the birds, the feel.” – Peter Zumthor

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