It isn’t too much. If you look closely you can see it plain as the back of your eyelids. Standing in the heart of the house, large rooms to the north, south, east, and west of her she could see through the screen door to heaven. It had taken a long time to get here and she often took stock in the price and loss it took to acquire this smidge of nirvana.
Presently she was stinted in the heart of her house glancing to the left at the library and all the books, the over-stuffed chairs and worn leather couches with their nail head trim. On the walls, photos of her hometown in earlier days when it was calm and peaceful and undisturbed. The fireplace was unlit and had been for months, yet the logs emitted a southern pine scent that welcomed you to come in and lose yourself in the comfort of the room and the sanctity of the words found in the bindings on the shelves. Had she read them all? No. Did she want to? At one time, yes. If only she could find someone to pay her to read; that’s the ticket.
One small turn to the right and there was the dining room, large and warm, where family met often for food and fellowship of exchanging and updating information about their daily lives. It was here that she enjoyed watching babies grow and grapple with who they were going to become–unhindered by the dark history that was her past. The table large and solid always had room for more; many adoptees brought in to the fold, drawn in by the comfort of the circle ensconcing the related ones. The pictures on these walls were of churches; German churches, southern churches, mountain one room chapels. She wasn’t a church goer anymore. That part of her life was over long ago. But God remained with her and in everything she did. It was man that ruined religion for her. She knew better than to let man ruin God.
Simmering in the kitchen was raspberry tea. Beckoning her from her morning ritual of thanks for what she had. The kitchen was filled with mismatched dishes, glassware, and coffee mugs though she drank no coffee. The cookie jar was always full of soft frosted molasses cookies. Fresh fruit and fresh vegetables could be found daily for she grew proficiently and traded neighborly. There was always something baking and new recipes to try and willing guinea pigs for taste testing. There was a small table off the back porch that she often had her morning breakfast or noonday meal.
In the back corner of the first floor was her bedroom and bathroom; large and comfortable to suit her needs. Windows on both sides and shuttered under the canopy of aged water and live oaks with their dangling moss tendrils. The house seemed to have been snuck in under these trees and they belonged together. A large farmhouse door was put in by her son so she could enjoy the porch outside her room and her favorite rocking chair was out there. Often at night you could hear the creak of either the chair or the porch boards. You had to really listen to know the difference.
The front room was used for sewing, knitting, jewelry making, writing, tv watching, or visiting. The window seat was her favorite place; she could snoop on the approachers before they saw her. Sometimes she had time to hide from the encroachers before they got over the small bridge and through the front gate. A week didn’t go by that she didn’t catch herself dreaming about switching out the bridge for a cattle crossing with a remote control allowing her to draw the pipes back into the left and right side of the land when the encroachers arrived at the creek crossing that ran in front of her home. Such a simple joy that would be. The encroachers were always car riders; never truck people. Truck people never bothered or pestered her; they just were not the type.
The stairs behind her were not wimpy stairs; they were stocky stairs built for real people. Under the stairs was the communal bathroom. At the top of the stairs was a large landing with even more books and a second window seat where the granddivas and granddukes loved to cuddle up with books and crayons and trucks and dolls. Lining the walls up the stairs were photos after photos of the her son and his wife and their children. Four more bedrooms and two more bathrooms could be found on the second floor and it was usually here that a grandchild would ‘run away’ too.
But as she carried her raspberry tea and ambled toward the front screen door it was that front porch that finished the dream she had always had of her home. It was wide and long, wrapping around both sides to take full advantage of the seasons or mood of the owner as it were. And as she sat with her tea, the dog at her feet, she looked down the canopy treed road and counted her blessings for her home and the land that had been hers for so long she couldn’t begin to imagine who she would be without it.