My mom’s house is transformed: bright Swedish red with white trim and a pale steel roof. The trees I remember being planted when I was little are toweringly large and leafy now. (I can still summon the feeling of straddling the downed and barky box elders they replaced).
Rollo the regal orange tom cat allowed me to generously adore him, and even laid almost on top of my feet in the summer kitchen– once a place for random boxes and old farm detritus (and baby kittens), it’s now bright and open with pine paneling on the ceiling, a tempting little loft “for the grandkids” which I will co-opt on my next overnight, and the rug that used to be in my grandma’s living room, with a comforting bit of wear showing where feet rested in front of furniture.
We walked the property and my mom showed me all her projects: the grainery is next and might incorporate both the bell tower that was once her playhouse and then mine and my sisters’, as well as the cupola from the barn that finally sank down on its knees to rest for good.
As I was driving through my old hometown I thought, “Why on earth does she still live here?”– but when I got to her house I understood. It’s beautiful and colorful, and those old out buildings I had written off as beyond repair and not worth the money are resurrecting, rising again, reviving like an old lilac bush that has at last been properly pruned to allow all the latent life to burst out and bloom.
Add to that beauty and redemption a meal of millet and mung beans and mire poix so good I had to take a picture of the recipe (those paper-thin carrots and celery!), the cluster of snow white beef cattle in the cousins’ pasture across the road, the rich, green rolling hills, and the posthumous gifts of bookshelves and sewing machines from my grandma, and it was a completely perfect day for beginning everything again.