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Saturday, October 5, 2013

Memories of Home

This afternoon, my mother and I went for a drive through the back roads of Albert County, revisiting old haunts and old memories.  One of the places we stopped was the house where we used to live in Stoney Creek.  It is a large farm style home with a cedar shingle woodshed. 

When I was a child, there were vast stretches of cleared fields and orchards of fruit trees carefully tended, vegetable gardens and a view all the way down the hilly acres to the Petitcodiac River.  It was a century old house, sturdy, comfortable, well cared for, a warm fire and a welcome shared with people we loved.  It was our home.

As we grew up, moved away, it was a challenge for my mother to keep it all by herself, so the homestead was sold.  The new owners wanted the woodlots, hundreds of acres of them and had a family member who wanted to live in the house.

Plans don't always go the way one expects.  Life interferes, forces changes.

Today the grapevine that used to curl a greeting at the back door has grown over the woodshed roof and down onto the ground, five feet into the driveway itself.  The cedars, the high-bush cranberries, the lilacs are untrimmed and wild, growing into flagpoles and well covers and porch walls.

Mum's crimson shrubs are overtaken by weeds and golden rod and tall pale grasses.  The apple orchard stands up to its shoulders in alders and weeds, is surrounded by deer paths.  The oaks are fighting for sky with choking vines.  Maples in oranges and reds are visible from the mid point up; the lower portions buried in whatever nature sends to reclaim the lawns and driveways and gardens when humans have left them unloved.

To visit our former home was a shock, made a lump in our throats, an ache in our chests.

Perhaps it wasn't a good idea to go back.  Perhaps we should have held the memories and not searched out the reality.  But we didn't.

Still, we know, everywhere we've been, all the life we've lived remains within us, deep inside, held in memory.  Part of living is moving on; is letting go when the time comes to shed one place for another.

Sometimes looking back is painful because we want someone else to see the beauty and value in a home or a yard or a garden we have lived in and loved.  But everyone makes their own choices.  We do.  We did.  The new owners have.

We must let go, simply let go.

Mum and I spent the rest of the afternoon travelling back roads, enjoying the colours of the autumn leaves, acknowledging everything changes. 

That lives and homes have their seasons too.


Margie said...

Carol, I can imagine it was a shock to see your former home that way.
I know how you must have felt as I recently went back to see how my home that I lived in for 20 years was looking.
(we moved last summer)
Well, I cried when I saw the front yard was brown and nothing but weeds.
We took such pride in our yard while we lived there.
I guess it's not always a good idea to go back.
But we can keep the wonderful memories of how it was when we lived there.
That is what I am doing and it's good enough to make we feel content and I love my new home :)

Crafty Green Poet said...

That must have been a shock to see, but better it being reclained by nature than covered in tarmac

Carol Steel said...

Hi Margie,
Thanks for your comment and empathy. For me, this experience is about letting go and moving on. Though it was a shock to see, the truth is the house was sold and is owned by another. They may do what they like with the house and the property.

Carol Steel said...

Hi Juliet,
You are right of course. It was just such a shock to see it after 8 years and to know that it has gone uncared for during that time. I did feel good about the deer paths in the old orchard. At least they benefit from the additional shelter of the yard.