Halfway up the stairs

stairway to the sun
I remember sitting on the stairs, halfway up the stairs, in my childhood home. In a family that was bouncy and exuberant, full of colour and noise, it was important to me to spend some time half-way up.


There I would sit, bony knees touching my chin, hand resting on the white paint of the bannister, feeling its cool smoothness, fingers playing with the raised blobs of stray paint and uneven wood, varnished and perfect in their imperfection. I don’t remember the colour of the carpet, some ’70’s green or brown; I remember the scratchy feeling under my feet and the carpet burn and exhilaration you would get from bump-bumping down on your bottom. I’m not really an exhilaration girl. I was the girl who would stroke the bannister and think thoughts.


The reason I most liked it was because it was a place in a song (albeit one that Kermit sang):
‘Halfway up the stairs is a place where I sit
There isn’t any other place quite like it.
It’s not at the bottom, it’s not at the top
So this is the place where I’ll always stop.’


I wanted to be the star of a song, to be in the world of poetry. I liked the thoughtful, wistful tune, and I wanted to embody that melody, to inhabit the smoky, wispy place of imagination and melancholy, the half-way up, the in-between, the alone and the connectedness, as I sat with my feet made uncomfortable by the bristly carpet and my hand soothed by sturdiness and shininess of the bannister.


Now I am older, and the stairs no longer represent the worlds of possibility or invisibility but of disability. Today the stairs in my house are grand with a regency carpet, impossibly high and beautiful. They are the mountain I can climb just once a day. I live at the top, an isolation without choice, a Rapunzel waiting for someone to come rescue.


I am still the romantic, the one who longs for stairs to be more than wood and paint and carpet, the one who sees angels coming up and down, sparkling glimpses of heaven and the light airiness of a world beyond, waiting for my adventure to start.


Over to you:

  • Where are the places that are special to you?
  • Can you relate to feeling ‘in-between’, halfway-up?
I am joining Amber for her masterclass in writing today – and loving it. Come play… #concretewords

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18 Responses to Halfway up the stairs

  1. Amber C Haines 26th September, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

    Oh, Babe, I’m waiting for my adventure to start, too.

    Thank you for this.

    • Tanya 27th September, 2012 at 11:35 am #

      Thank you!

  2. Allison 25th September, 2012 at 6:10 pm #

    This took me back to my childhood world of possibilities stairs too! They were at my Oma’s farmhouse where I would dream and watch the pages of her calendar collection flap in the summer breeze. You are more powerful than you realize.

    • Tanya 26th September, 2012 at 10:32 am #

      ‘You are more powerful than you realize’ – thank you so much for this. Heading over to your place now to check out your blog!

  3. Lori Harris 25th September, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

    Hello~ I found you from the link up and I absolutely know the in-between. It seems to be an ever-present theme in my life! Thank you for sharing a bit of your heart with me this morning!

    • Tanya 25th September, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

      So lovely to find a kindred spirit! I’m glad you found me too! 🙂

  4. the Blah Blah Blahger 25th September, 2012 at 12:23 am #

    Beautiful post!!!

    • Tanya 25th September, 2012 at 5:16 pm #

      Thanks you – that means a lot! 🙂

  5. Kim 24th September, 2012 at 6:38 pm #

    I love seeing you half way up those stairs as a child – fulfiling the poetry! Stairs can be a good hiding place, imagining place. This is so beautifully written and such a good window into who you were and are today. Thank you.

    • Tanya 24th September, 2012 at 7:32 pm #

      Thanks so much, Kim! I value your words of encouragement!

  6. Brandee Shafer 24th September, 2012 at 3:11 pm #

    Wow. You really made me see you, here. What a pleasure to read you for the very first time, this morning.

    • Tanya 24th September, 2012 at 7:31 pm #

      That is such a gift, to be seen. Thank you for seeing. 🙂

  7. Shelly Miller 24th September, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

    And a beautiful Rapunzel you are Tanya. I’m praying for you today, that isolation made me feel a bit sad for you. I feel as though I’ve lived on the middle step for quite some time, trying to figure out how to take the next step up. Lovely story. I’m enjoying Amber’s series, aren’t you?

    • Tanya 24th September, 2012 at 7:30 pm #

      You say the loveliest things! Thank you – you always seem to echo how I’m feeling. I’m loving Amber’s series too – I feel like I’m learning to write. It’s scary and fun 🙂

  8. Mia 24th September, 2012 at 1:34 pm #

    Dear Tanya
    So beautiful! You know, physically, this illness makes me feel halfway up tha stairs of life as we know it on earth. I am not as ill as the 25% Group, but the illness causes me always to feel as if my body is stuck somewhere! I can just thank our Lord for allowing my spirit to soar on the wings of an eagle , with the sweet Holy Spirit being the eagle of course!

    • Tanya 24th September, 2012 at 7:29 pm #

      Yes – such a great way of putting it! It is the world of not-quite, this illness. Thanks so much for your comment!

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