Wood Floors

I love wood floors. I really do. Carpet can be soft and padded, and tile can be very beautiful, but wood is far more than that. It's smooth and comforting, warm and comfortable. The wood in my house is ancient, at least as far as my part of the world is concerned. It has been worn smooth by countless footsteps, all the edges softened and all the splinters worn away by the best sandpaper of all: human skin. Ok, that may seem a little disturbing, but if you think about it, it's true; the best violins have been caressed by human hands, the softest jeans are the ones that you've nearly worn through, and the most comfortable shoes in the world have been wrapped around your feet for years.

When carpet wears, it gets thin and gray. It gets used up. Tile doesn't really wear much; I suppose there are comfortable, worn paths in England or Italy, where those tiles were in use for thousands of years... but rock tends to be pretty stable. Wood, though, is soft. Even the hardest woods will be worn down over time. But, unlike carpet (or clothes), when it's worn, it's still just as functional. All those hands and feet and bottoms sliding over baseball bats, floors, and chairs smooth every bump to perfection.

To me, wood floors speak of warmth, comfort, and and a bit of temporal stability. Wood takes a long time to produce; carpet can be made from nylon, and if you had a big machine, you could make the carpet for an entire house in less than a week. Bricks and tile are hardy, but they're really just dirt and rock; again, with the right equipment, you could make enough tile to cover a thousand bathrooms in a day's time. But wood? Wood takes years, decades, even centuries to grow.

My house is all wood floors (well, everything but the kitchen, but we'll get to that later). Upstairs, away from the dust of construction, I almost never wear shoes or socks. My floors must actually massage my feet, because stress and tension leak out through my feet just walking on them. You can have your marble and your custom carpets; I'll take a worn, comfortable wooden floor any day.

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