We rode through the woods for awhile till we arrived at the old farmhouse. I could see the remains of a roof over the brush. As I got off the 4 wheeler and started walking forward- through the dense Spring brush- I could see more of what remained of someone’s long forgotten life. I hardly noticed the briars that snagged at my jeans and hair as I started snapping pictures. My heart started beating faster as we approached the door, framed with chips of green paint, welcoming us in. I really didn’t notice anyone else around me for a few minutes while I took it all in-the smell of new growth and decay all in the same breath. This was someone’s home, their life.
With the help of friends I climbed up the stairs to the next level-this was a bit challenging because after the fifth step they collapsed. After some pulling and pushing eventually I got up to the second level. What remained was a bedroom and part of a small closet, what remained of the bedframe hung from the second floor. The second floor and the first floor were slowly deconstructing into a pile of weathered boards. Someone slept in that bed for years-they would get up in the morning, put their clothes and shoes on and start their day. There was a mattress and linens on that bed at one time. Probably a made quilt made with the hands of a woman who worked very hard every day. I imagined all of this as I looked at the moss and vines growing in and out of the structure-embracing it and pulling it back to where it had once come from. As I went back down stairs-again no small task. I imagined a kitchen and coffee on a wood burning stove. The stove serving the dual purpose of course of warming the home in the cold winter months and the chilly spring and fall mornings. I imagined a quiet man and woman who may have lived in this home and were too busy with the chores of the farm to have silly conversations. On the wall were layers of wallpaper peeling one off of the other, a floral print-which gave me the idea that a woman lived and probably died here at one time.
As we exited the house and came around the corner there was a pile of debris-broken old mason jars, medicine bottles, dishes and pans. These items were just discarded there, as if tossed out with the dirty dishwater. There were also stone blocks-a small structure that was probably a fruit cellar or a summer kitchen.
As I started making my way back through the briars and brush I was thinking of all the time that had passed since this was someone’s home. It was time to get back to reality and out of the past and history of these hills, hopefully I will get to dig through it again another day.