Friday, October 9, 2009

The story of a farmhouse...

I actually wrote this several years ago so it is sort of cheating on my goal of writing every single day. But for some reason as my husband and I sat in our backyard watching the evening deepen and the light grow more golden I thought of this small house. The woman who lived there is now in a nursing home. She was such an interesting lady. A watercolor artist, a collector of sparse design, a woman of few words but of brilliant repartee. I wanted to buy this little farm when the family put it up for sale but Arizona to Ohio is a long commute. And it was not feasible.

But now with Autumn reaching it's nostalgic fingers even to the deep Southwest I long for it. My wishes ensconce me fireside tonight with a tall chair, a lovely cup of steaming and fragrant tea and a book laying face-down in my lap, unread.

Perhaps you would like to visit with me...

The light races across the cornfields, bristly and dormant and across a small copse of resting trees to reach the farmhouse. At the bottom of a small rise you see a house-small, white, simple. Time has been fairly kind to this small home although some windowsills and porch angles seem to set slightly awry. Maybe there is a small sag to the roof but this is not important.

Grass, scrubby bushes and dormant flower beds surround the house and speckle the lawn here and there with texture and density. Only random foliage, and very occasional faded blooms, decorate them now in this late Autumn. Once vibrant leaves gather, leathery and golden brown, around them and if you walk across the lawn your feet will certainly cause a slight crackle and crunch. You will certainly smell that faint nostalgic scent that the change of seasons evokes – the smell of childhood and the passing of life.

Just stand for a moment. Look around. See the texture of the old weathered barn boards. They are the warm earth brown of old, seasoned dry wood. The grain is raised and patterned and if you had the time now you could make small studies of the individualities of each board. Maybe some day you will have the time. The barn smells comfortably of old straw and machine oil. On the shaded side of the barn the wood is almost black. No sunlight highlights the textures but you know they are there.

Look further. The slight wooded hills contain treasure. Beneath the collage of bare, interlocking tree branches, nestled beneath the earth and resting in the loamy, rich soil lies hundreds, maybe thousands of bulbs. Planted and nurtured through the years by hands aged with sun, wind and years they await cold, harsh days and the eventual awakening of warm spring. Soon, very soon, their vibrant green stems will support a multitude of swaying yellow, white and gold blossoms. A veritable fountain of gold beneath spring budding trees. But for now we can only imagine. For now we can only have faith and wait on their return.

Scattered here and there around this simple, white home are further treasures. A weathered fence section, sculptural in its simplicity. A slightly sad playhouse with no children and no warm weather to entertain it on this late autumn day. Deeply worn paths where the packed dirt bears witness to all the footsteps that have passed there before yours. Over behind you lies the remains of a hopeful summer garden, fallow now and not completely harvested with dull oranges, greens and reds of old, fading vegetables creating a tapestry of color on the dormant earth. And there, that ancient, gnarled apple tree. Do you suppose it is as covered in fluffy, fragrant white each spring as a hopeful new bride?

The light slants lower now. Let us return to the house. We know that the warm, buttery sunlight will soon end for this season and the harsh, brittle light of winter will surround us and encourage us to stay inside – warm, by the fire. But not quite yet. So linger for a moment on the porch steps and take in one last deep breath of this perfect day. The doorknob is cold and smooth under your hand. It turns easily but it is not so easy to go inside. The pure, dark blue of the sky, the low, fluffy lavender clouds, the hills rolling in the distance to infinity all implore you to wait. To remain a few moments longer just to imprint this perfection on your memory. Can you? Do you suppose you can always remember the twist and turn of that particular apple branch silhouetted so clearly against that particular shade of sky? Can you imprint forever the scent and feel of this day? Yes, it’s possible. If you close your eyes for a moment now and just breathe vignettes of other moments, other sunsets, other tiny remembrances will come to you. Everything you have seen, felt and experienced remains part of you just as this moment will become part of you.

Enough lingering. There is hot tea inside and maybe a perfect red apple picked only weeks ago from a tree outside the door. There are stacks of magazines and a little pile of cards and letters for you to smile over on the small table by your chair. Kindling and logs are stacked in the fireplace awaiting a match. It is serene and quiet punctuated only by the predictable tick of the clock. The dust on the family picture frames probably needs attending to. Soon dinner will need some thought. Surely laundry awaits. But how can you care now? Those are simply the chores of life that need attention. But the rest of this, all the rest, this is the simply the best of life.


Allie said...

I want to live there ..... oh wait, I live close. Want me to bottle up some Ohio fall for you and send it yoru way?

Allie said...

your way too ... dang fast fingers

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

This was so beautiful Jenny really are a talented writer! I felt like I was there.