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August 27, 2022

The West River House is a moveable feast. I whet my appetite to the rhythm of the Grateful Dead and graze on life-sized post-modern art. Tonal, abstract pieces hopscotch with vibrant oils, and they all speak with fervor. I start to meander like a river from room to room; my thoughts feel sublime by a spirit connected to the divine.


What’s so moving about this place? Why do I feel so well-fed by its glass walls, grey limestone, and lonely grace? And ironically, why do I feel zapped by its life-giving energy?


As I keep moving, even a bathroom is complete with a Rauschenberg, Picasso, and one of Kurt’s (the owner) original oils lounging together. The house entices and lures me on with slim peaks into the next room. It sounds strange, but I can’t not look; can’t not go. Stairs act like tributaries that feed delightful touches of Ming dynasty horses, Persian carpets, and Brazilian-wood balconies. High, white ceilings in the back of the house dance with no ceilings. In the front; the triangular roofline of a majestic wooden bridge pays homage to the Dummerston bridge over the West River in Vermont. So, “a river runs through it?”


Now I’m dangling in the game room with a hawk-eye view to the living room below; soothed in the luscious, minimal bedrooms with spa baths, and winnowing balconies; and awed in the kitchens with sleek state-of-the-art appliances, art instead of cabinets on the walls, and best-of-all, Kurt’s serialized drawings of the beautiful, natural deterioration of an orange. 


But the long dining table is the real connector: a bridge over water, a rod on a river, a fish caught by the life-like fly. 


I listen and contribute to stories emerging hour after hour with the architect, the owner, a neighbor, and my husband while the table, bathed in black walnut tung oil, silently conducts our satiation of food and thought. And then it moves. Or did I have too much to drink? The table moves again and gently glides closer to those on the opposite side. I subtly pull it back. Everyone notices this table may be silent, but not still. The table, like the house, ebbs and flows with surprises. It’s Kurt’s pre-patent-pending idea that a three-year-old can move a mountain with a pinky. Totally awe-inspiring.


As the Texas heat and white light subside on the Guadalupe River, the West River House warmly glows from within. I walk across the front lawn into the night and feel I’ve kayaked all evening around surprising bends in a river. I gaze back at the dynamic display of life-giving art still carrying on a conversation around the long table. A rod on a river. 


A Rod on a River

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