We bought it before a “For Sale” sign was ever staked, fourteen acres on which to build our retirement home. The entrance is a cut road, running between two hills, or more precisely high places above the gullies created by long-ago mining.
The east hill I’ve reserved for a playground, an open area for a barn and a picnic spot complete with Narnia lamp post. Underbrush is scarce and sunlight defused by short trees in an uneven circle. Already the visits from some of our ten grandchildren have helped me imagine future family outings – a brick barbecue pit, wooden picnic table and benches, a swing or two hanging from high branches, blankets on the ground, and grandkids scouting out the land.
In the autumn the girls will delight me with multi-colored leaves. Wes will collect the brown ones. He always reminds me that God made brown also. Tommy, our paleontologist, will use his imagination to turn a twisted stick or an oddly shaped rock into some pre-historic creatures. Prying open Tony’s hands, I’ll find beanie-capped acorns and small, smooth stones.
The west hill we have chosen for our home. Markers square off the dimensions and the half-circular drive. A gully in back provides a natural basement entrance. A few trees will have to be cut down, some pruned, but sycamores, poplars, and oaks can be kept. Careful about clearing out too much, we want to retain the wild sanctuary for birds. One spring afternoon we spied two Eastern bluebirds in a large white dogwood.
In complete shade I stand in the “front yard” and visualize rockers in motion on the porch. I look up and feel the cool. I look out in a circle around me and feel the warmth – our “For Sale” sign stuck in the ground near an elm along the cut road. Reality and attachment collide. We must be realistic, but I’ve grown accustomed to my dreams.
Written in 1998 for a Creative Writing Class, led by Brian O’Neill in conjunction with the Vigo County Public Library and the Senior Citizen Center, Terre Haute, Indiana.