When I was younger my mom would drive her out to look at "the old place" as it was known.
I was always with them.
"That's it," said the lady in the front seat, the one with face wrinkled with time, old lady shoes and always a modest floral dress of e-z care.
"At least I think it is," she'd murmur.
How could one be uncertain, I wondered. Wouldn't the image of home be emblazoned on your memory, even if you were now over 80 years old? Even if you'd moved away as a girl going into High School, at the turn of the 1900s?
Since she said the same thing every time we drove out (it wasn't a far drive from the city) we agreed that yes, that was it. It just looked different with time.
And it was now in the hands of someone trying to make a museum of the many little buildings there.
I loved it. It was like seeing the set of all the action of the story I'd been given. There was the door jamb where the rattler crawled over and her mom killed it with a buggy whip. There was the wing where my grandmother would steal away to read other people's newly arrived magazines, as their house and general store was also the Post Office and Livery of the town.
There was the outbuilding just beyond where she ran around to avoid a "talking to" from her father for sassing her mother, tho the details of that story she didn't fill in. What kind of sass? What did a "stern talking to" really mean and why was she so afraid of it? Never had she raised her voice to me, much less a stern talking to, tho she was my only, daily caregiver from birth to leaving for university far away.
So at times of feeling alone, so alone, in this world after the death of her 40 years ago, but now also after the sweet passing of my family
—mother, father, friend along with the entire cast of my memoir on the pups, both cats and all the dogs,
all in the last five years--
I often drive out to just look at the old house.
I sit as we did then, in my car, gazing at the door, seeing sometimes all of those souls of family standing together at the transom, as if a photo applied over the real structure of the stone house.
I sit and look.
To connect with the feeling of love.
Feeling the breezes
of life rushing by.
Of times past or passed, as she would say, but I realize I never knew how she spelled past or passed. While both are accurate, each pings the heart in a different way.
This time, I noticed that the land and little house it is on
is for sale.
My heart stopped. There is no way I can afford to buy it as the city suburbs lap at the edge of what had been remote prairie
and another suburb is eager to
eat it up.
The windows panes now have wood falling down inside from age and cold.
It is a relic.
And time is rushing ever by.
The images in my head flood of the place of love, the place of life now "past" or "passed". I hope I never forget them and that with my fading pictures and rushing moments I will carry them.
But to where?
Another day is gone.
Another life has been lived. This time my own.
There is only the love we feel
that tells us we have lived.
We are but souls rummaging around
place and time and heart
in the falling light.