Here I was, driving on unfamiliar country roads searching for the address of the next house on the list; the
realtor in his car following me. Over the last few weeks I’d looked at so many houses; abandoned, stripped, in deplorable
condition. This one was at the upper limit of my budget. It was bitter cold; 8 inches of snow and ice on the ground and the heater in my truck was not working.
We pulled up to the house and into the driveway, or at least what I thought was the driveway at the time. I got my first impression of the farmhouse with its rusted roof partially obscured by the snow and ice, the vinyl siding with random holes created by BB guns aimed at the long abandoned structure, the general neglect of sitting empty for close to a decade. It sat alone, isolated, empty; surrounded by what seemed like endless cornfields that now are barren, waiting for spring and the next crop. These fields stretch out in every direction; the nearest neighbor a half a mile away. Black skeleton trees with their branches
reaching out flank two sides of the house like dark sentries warning people to stay away. The house pleaded, “I’m old and tired. Just leave me alone.”
The realtor fumbled with the lock, the house still resisting our intrusion. Finally, the knob turned and the door opened onto an interior that was much as the exterior, with layers of peeling paint, dingy carpet and rooms so full of left-behind junk that the house seemed to groan under the weight of it all. One narrow, wooden staircase in good repair held the only clue to what the house must once have been.
I dutifully, but quickly scanned the rooms upstairs and downstairs even though mentally I had already ticked this house off the list along with all the others; too much work to be done along with too high an asking price for what was here.
Time to leave; my truck got stuck in the mud in the yard. I discover later, after the snow melts that there really is no driveway. I tried to dig it out, but no matter what I tried, it simply would not move either forwards or backwards; stuck in this one moment in time, much like my life. As I waited for the tow truck; angry, frustrated and running out of time to find us a suitable place to live, the silence of the fields called out to me, “You might find peace here; room to breathe again and move forward.” The house softly sighed, liking the way it felt to have people around again. I was pulled out of the truck by the energy of it all. Taking a good second look around; this time noticing the hand-laid stone of the foundation, the root cellar, and the sturdy ‘bones’ of this place that has stood in these fields for nearly a hundred years.
Eventually the tow truck came and I drove back home to warm up again. I couldn’t stop thinking about the farmhouse, so I played around with the numbers and made an offer based on what I thought the house was actually worth. The owners accepted my offer! Now all that remained was to call J and tell him that we’d just bought a 100 year old farmhouse!