Growing up, summer was hot and winter was cold. Every year, at the same time, it was the same cycle of shoveling snow, getting ready for track, running the garden hose in the back yard, and picking up walnuts. My childhood home, with its stone walls and carpet covered floors, sat still as the years flowed by.
When you grow up, your world appears to be smaller and darker, but with this house it just kept becoming brighter and bigger. The old colors, brown, pink, and blue of the 80s, are replaced with eggshell, yellow, and soft smoke. When you walk into the house, you can see the work my parents have put into the house all these years. The house feels settled, not cluttered from time or laziness, not sterilized from remodels or upgrades.
One of the best traits of an old stone house is how it lives along side you. In the summer, it stays cooler from the night and wind flows leisurely though it. In the winter, the stones hold in the heat and keep the air not too dry and not too damp. You can hear the house living all the time. The boards and the walls creak and groan. Cracks crawl along the plaster, sometimes peaking and sometimes closed.
Ghosts of the past inherit this house. They never haunt it, they have become part of its soul.
The snow is falling, dusting a white powder over the property. The wind whistles and sneaks up my flannel and sweatshirt coat. That same coat has been hanging in the laundry room of the house for as long as I can remember…the coats that my dad, brother, and I have taken out to rake leaves, start fires, and shovel snow over and over again throughout the years. The coat is something I never really remember as being part of the house until I instinctually grab for it, put my hands into the pockets and travel down the back wooden stairs.
Behind the silo, around the barn, I hear the hum of nearby cars and a volunteer fire siren whining into the white and soft ash sky. Now that I sit here writing, I get the image of the whole scene as if it were a Murakami setting. Amongst the faded and mundane, there is a slowly growing feeling, one of mystery or curiosity.
When the field is green and the sun is bright, you can stand quietly and listen, listen to one world push up against another. When I was younger there were farm fields all around the house and everywhere I went. Slowly I watched fields and hillsides stripped and turned into copies of homes. The roads and the places feel less secret, less inviting to travel.
I once walked these fields and ran these woods with bare feet and boredom. In the snow I am content with this melancholy and space.