I had to visit my past to prepare for my future. Call it what you will - closure, curiosity. I needed to visit that place one last time.
It had been six incredibly long and impossibly short years. Almost to the day.
When I dream of places from my real, not imagined, past, I am often standing in the garden of 451 John Kay Road.
Sophie and I drove by our former home on Sunday. It stands empty. Again. Three families. Three foreclosures. Is the house cursed?
We peeked in the windows. They painted over the soft green walls. Tan. Not bad, but not green. Our green. The Frank Lloyd Wright inspired light fixtures were gone. I knew we should have stripped the place inside and out when we left in 2009.
Here is what we learned - we left our mark on the place.
I stood where our garden had been. It had been lush, abundant, verdant. Then overgrown and drying out. Ever changing.
"I dream of standing in this spot."
The only thing that remains of the vegetable and herb garden is a bedraggled rosemary bush. It retains some of its green, holding firm at the edge of the slope.
Next to the house was a dry creek. I'd gathered hundreds of small stones from the field in front of our house and created the bed. I planted foliage. Anchored by a butterfly bush there were sedum and grasses. Liriope. Lambs ears. Hostas, a bleeding heart and columbine. Ivy to spread out under the back deck. I'd attempted one small, spreading evergreen.
Unchecked, that small evergreen became a monster threatening to overshadow the entire side of the house, everything else struggling to grow in its shadow and most things now long gone.
"I wonder if any of the self-sewing zinnias ever make an appearance?"
The apple and peach trees are gone. Who would do that?
The wisteria that I'd been warned against planting seeks revenge, pulling at the back deck. The railroad ties, once the perch for pots drifting riotous color, now suffer the indignity of supporting a makeshift deck at the bottom of the stairs, gray paint peeling and forlorn.
I stood where the garden once spread across the ground.
"I dream of this spot. I stand here and look toward the house."
|This is now.|
A swallow swooshes by and I look away.
When I look back the vision is gone. The house is a blank slate again. Another family will come. More lives will be lived here. But not our lives. Our lives have shifted and fractured and we have scattered. We are scattering. Life is change and we are changing. This change is good and we each welcome and fear it.
I snap off a bit of the rosemary bush and carry it away with me.