We went back home this weekend, to Mom's farm to check on things. I'm not going to say it felt good to go back, it never does anymore since she's not there. We talk the whole trip, that road is as familiar as the back of my hand. Over the mountains, past the little towns of Goshen and Marble, many curves and many farms just like Mom's that now stand vacant of families. Old homesteads all along the way that used to have smoke curling out the chimneys and supper on the stove. Like I said, not easy.
There's so much that needs to be done there, if I lived close we could spend a year just on the care of the pastures. So.much.work. That's the way it is with a farm. We might dream and idolize living on our own piece of land, but in reality it's hard work, never ending. When my Grandparents lived there, Grandpa spent a part of everyday cutting hay or clearing brush. Without that, pastures grow up with sprouts that turn into trees. The paths that used to run across the property are now invisible to the eye, but in my mind I know exactly where they ran. Out past the chicken house to the clearing at the top of the hill where Grandpa would feed late in the afternoon. The cows would follow along behind the truck as he threw hay from the bed of that old International pickup. I loved to go there, years and years of weekends and summers and holidays on that farm.
We fixed the window, swept the floor and locked the door. Down Keeling lane to check another pasture, back across the mountains, around the curves and home again. The trip home is always quiet, I'm lost in my thoughts and my memories. All good ones.