It’s time to say goodbye.
After eight years of blood, sweat, tears, calamity, and—yes—joy, we are leaving these rocky two acres, this home I’ve christened the Funny Farm, along with other irreverent monikers. But the truth is that I’ve written about and photographed this stake of ours, been frustrated and mesmerized by it, more than any abode I’ve called home, and that is what some might call love.
When we stumbled upon this house at the lake I had already accepted that I would not be one of those whose life would be etched in a “forever home.” The house we left then, the place where I raised my two unique and cherished children, would have earned that designation if any collection of walls and doors could. It had been perfect in every way, even with its imperfections. Even with our imperfections.
But when Michael and I found the neglected three-two with a barn and a quilt of overgrown paddocks, I at least was not searching for something new as much as running from the familiar that would be forever changed. Barren rooms, quiet halls. The nest emptied. And while it was no catastrophe, and was the natural order of things, I couldn’t imagine myself some time in the future as the sweet but sometimes cantankerous old lady who could be spied by all the fresh families on the block still digging weeds from her flower beds; the young woman I’d been when I pulled up to that circular drive all those years ago only a vision in my own fading memory.
No, it was time to move on, and Michael gratefully followed. But I certainly don’t think he had written his possible ending on that street the way I had. And as we looked for a new place to land, in the way that our family home seemed to have been waiting for us when we found it all those years ago, the house and the barn and the land at the lake seemed to have been placed in our path.
I swear sometimes I feel that in this life we are all just on auto pilot. We think we are in control, that we choose the path. But time and again—and I can see this now looking back—forces step in, God steps in, and directs us, for better or what might feel like worse. But even when we think that things didn’t go so well, didn’t go the way we planned, we remember that we can’t see the road ahead, can’t see the whole picture. All we know is how we feel about it at the moment. And how I feel at this moment about finding this place and moving here is that it was meant to be, even if it did not turn out how I’d planned.
First it was the craggy, weed choked land that eventually yielded the most graceful native grasses and flowers. Something I’d never seen in my suburban yard. Then there was the roller coaster of seasons, and the successes and failures they brought in the vegetable garden. There was the mystery of the fruit trees and the puzzle as to why they were they so happy with us one year, and simply shut us out the next. Why the squirrels loved our peaches but not the neighbors.’
There was the drought, that welcomed us here, and now as we say adieu, is also passing. So many days of hot and dry. I remember it bringing me to tears. I also remember being moved to tears when rain finally did come. It was so splendid. I am grateful that this very big backyard humbled me and taught me the power of nature and how precious its resources.
There were the golden sunsets, that in winter colored a chilled sky, and in summer blazed harshly, yet gorgeous.
Last, but in no way least, there were the horses, Jewel and Bubba. They were the greatest surprise, the most cherished teachers, the best gift. What a luxury it was to live with them.
So it was only eight years, but they are now tattooed on my existence, the images indelible. It is more than memories I take with me, it is a new me. Because in finding this place and living so many days of life unimagined here, I go forward now expectant that there are more worlds that will open to me, with distinct revelations, colored as brilliantly as the ones given here.