It is a well-documented fact that I love maps. When you blog, all sorts of useless information gets documented. No one was ever able to put down in writing the location of the Holy Grail, but at least future generations will know that I really like maps, hate cantaloupe, and that once I got locked in a Goodwill dressing room.
How much do I like maps? Well, I have one in pretty much every room in my house, including one of the bathrooms. You might find this to be excessive, but I promise that each map is different. If you are not a map person, you may think that a map is a map is a map, but that's just not true. It's not just that they show different locations, which they do, but they are different kinds of maps. They communicate the concept of geography in different ways, depending on their initial purpose. So my topographical map is different than my elementary schoolroom map, which is in turn different from my geological survey map.
The very first thing that you will see upon entering my home is a map. It hangs in the foyer, facing the front door. It is a map of the very property on which you stand.
When I bought the house, the previous owners gave me a landscaping plan that had been drawn up, but never implemented. It was a grand plan, done by a real professional landscaper. It is hand-drawn in pencil and ink, dated September 25, 1989. The house was built in 1984, so it's likely the first owners had this done. And then they never implemented this grand scheme of foliage. I'm glad they didn't. If they had, I might not have even bought the house. What enticed me were the trees, and while the interior of the house is truly marvelous, had the exterior been dotted with variegated ligustrum and dwarf abelia and white caladium, I might not have looked any closer. I would have said, man, that looks like a lot of work. Trees are beautiful landscaping that require no upkeep.
So they gave me this diagram, along with a set of house keys. Likely, the previous owners had given it to them and they didn't know what to do with it but keep it. It was rolled up and flattened, having been passed down from owner to owner, all of them too lazy or too tree-hugging to put it into effect, but not willing to get rid of it.
I thought it was pretty neat, a totally unexpected part of the home-buying transaction. A couple weeks later, I serendipitously found a rustic wooden and burlap frame at Goodwill that fit perfectly, and I hung it up in my new foyer. I just thought it was a cool drawing, but then later, I realized it was yet another map (I'm a little slow). Josh says it was a weird thing to display, but it seemed glaringly obvious to me. Maybe it is weird, but it's also fantastic. Really, how many people have a hand-drawn map of their land? It's so specific; you could put a "YOU ARE HERE" sticker on it. I like my maps to show places that I love, and I love this tiny piece of the world.
Someday, I will probably leave this house. At that point, I will have to make the hard decision whether to pass the map down to the next owner. I am already resisting the idea. Right now, it is a map of my property, but then it will be a map of my first home (sentimental maps!). How will I know that the next people will appreciate and love this drawing the way that I do? They may have great taste in houses, but they may not be map people, and even if I gift them the frame, they might just shove it in a closet somewhere, or worse, throw it away.