Almost a year ago today, I returned to our family farm for the last time.
We would be putting it up for sale a few weeks afterward, and I was only in PEI for a week -- so this was my final time to go back and walk through the empty house. My aunt (Mom's sister) came with me; she had not grown up in the house but had been in it thousands of times, and it was in a way another home to her, too. She wanted to dig up a few perennials to have something lasting from the old place.
The spare house key was still hanging inside the back door of what we called the "tractor building" -- the same place it had hung for at least 40 years. I unlocked the door to the house and we wandered through. It was cool and felt both damp and dusty. Some rooms were now unrecognizable, the previous residents having made some renovations -- but others looked almost exactly as they had been when our family lived there.
I confess that I felt less sadness than I had expected to. Perhaps it was because when the people who made that house home were no longer there, I sensed that the walls and floors and roof were just containers for our lives. I realize not everyone feels that way: for some, the piece of earth and the buildings themselves retain significance of their own beyond that of the people who abided on and in them. But for me, it was not home anymore, and I was almost relieved to go outside again and lock the door behind me.
The yard looked much more like I remembered it than the house did -- except that Dad would never have let it get so overgrown with grass and dandelions.
There used to be a little blue picnic table under that tree; when we would visit in the summertime, Jonathan would sit there and do a jigsaw puzzle or have a snack. There had also been a hammock, where Allison might be found reading. Both were now gone.
I wonder now, how many Sunday afternoons did we spend sitting under that chestnut tree, commenting on the (few) cars passing on the road, perhaps waiting for company to arrive.
Many people said that our house, with its white shingles and (formerly) green trim, reminded them of the house in Anne of Green Gables.
This last picture contains so much: the bare earth near the house where cars would turn around; the old hay wagon in the long grass, its side racks removed; the little stretch of wooden fencing; the blue strip of Northumberland Strait to the south. It was the most beautiful view. At nighttime we could see lights twinkling across the strait in Nova Scotia.
I'm glad I have these few pictures of the last time I returned home. When I drove away that day, I carried a million memories with me, too -- both sweet and sad.
This is a Five Minute Friday post - the prompt was RETURN.
photos by Jeannie Prinsen - June 3, 2017