Some places in this world exist to remind us of ourselves. Childhood homes. Schools and playgrounds. Grandma’s kitchen. Wherever your children breathe the soft air of sleep.
These places seep into our souls, wrap up us in blankets of memory and love. The warmth which washes over us feels heavy and thick, but not smothering. Comforting. Real. Physical. Spiritual. Other-worldly and something completely of this world all at the same time.
I no longer can slip through the front door of my grandmother’s home, scoot up her steps, and sit down at a table filled with all my favorite foods. Another family lives within those sacred walls. They’re busy making the memories of a y0ung family; the walls echoing with their laughter and tears, soaking up their dreams and wishes from blown out candles on cakes.
When I drive onto The Farm, I cannot look in the direction of the home I built Lego houses and dreams in, learned family lore, dreamed of places bigger and better than that house I so dearly miss. The things we cannot see in our young, headstrong days; we miss what we’re missing even when it’s in front of our face.
I still have places, of course. The Farm itself, as I speed up the long driveway, I feel the freedom of being 16 and learning to drive with the windows down—full speed ahead with no fear, no question. The house which I now call home with my husband and two sons. Never before have I felt so safe inside a physical structure, though I know it has less to do with the house and everything to do with the family unit we created. Together.
And here in this damp, quiet Ohio valley, I find remnants of a girl with big dreams, a bigger faith, and a naïveté that endears her to me even today. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I just knew I felt safe, felt a part of something, felt purpose.
I like remembering that young girl once a year. I like seeing it in the joy in my sons’ eyes. I like sitting on a porch with coffee cup in hand, listening to the birds and the voices of others from inside their little cottages all lined up in rows.
Peace manages to still live here, amidst some of the hate that slips through the cracks of even the most hallowed of places. Once per year, I like to remember that peace exists; I like to remember what it felt like to believe that we were all equal. With all the hate crushing so many lives and souls in daily life, I wish this same feeling of peace could settle into the hearts of all. And that young, naive young girl who still haunts these brick streets still believes that’s possiblie.
Maybe it is.