I don’t often dwell on thoughts of my childhood home anymore, however, once in a while images and feelings well up out of my deepest self. My father and mother purchased our farm in 1969 moving us from a small village to the country. I was six at the time and remember my next older sister was angry to be torn from her friends. She was six years older than I and a very social preteen. I, however, was a watcher and listener. I spent those first days absorbing odd and new smells while observing the family moving around me in the actions of moving.
The farmhouse smelled musty of old wallpaper and flooring. My mother had found a can of lilac air freshener and sprayed it around the house which only compounded the shaking of my equilibrium. Nothing being familiar I awaited instructions on what to do and where to be which was most often staying out of the way. In the corner of the kitchen was what looked to be an open pit but was actually the steep access to the basement. I took a tentative peek and decided to explore outside.
It was late summer when everything was retreating from energetic growth and felt stagnant in the windless day. I saw a pond west of the house down a gentle slope. Twenty to thirty feet out from the water the land was overgrown with meadow grass, brush and trees. Away from that were open fields that went to what was in my mind the horizon. So far away for a small person. To the north was the only other house visible another farm house that had seen better times along with barn, milk house, and an old car in deep grass, only fields and forest beyond. I felt an empty feeling I could not explain at the time. It felt like any sound I would make would float off and never reach anything that would care to respond. To the east lay the barn and grainery. The stock yard was fenced between using the facing walls of the buildings as part of the containment area. In the yard was a large white work horse. Though large and muscular its movements were minimal and reflected the stillness. Beyond the barn were more fields a total of eighty acres surrounded the house.
The fields had not been used and tall grasses stood and fell like matted hair from the summer winds and storms. I did not know what my actions were supposed to be here. I walked to the milk house and opened the door. Inside was the pipe for the well with a spicket sticking up inside the door. Three four pane windows were closed by wooden toggles and were covered with age old spider webs deep in dust. Finding nothing interesting I explored the barn also finding little that was interesting but much that was dirty. There were no animals to greet. Barn swallows had long since finished nesting so there was no swoop of energetic wings over your head as they build mud nests and feed their eager young. I heard my mothers voice and ran to answer her call for supper.