I drove past an old house of ours today, a little farmhouse that we rented six or seven years ago. It was just me and the Littlest, on our way to a well visit at the doctor, and we were a bit early. My travel mug of coffee was still half full, and the Littlest was tenderly sleeping in the back seat, that gray sky beginning to give way to sunshine. I took the long way.
There it sat, visible from the main road, yet still tucked away, part of an old village of yesteryear. This was not our home for long, though it remains one of my favorites. I turned the car off of the main road and meandered my way along the country paths that were once so familiar. Remember, Mark, when you were training for the marathon? Your feet pounded rough into the shoulders of these lanes, though eventually your knee couldn’t take any more. Or the countless times that we crossed the main road for our adventures into the nature conservancy? We were pretty certain that it was our own hidden treasure — we never saw another soul there!
I have a set of black and white photos that I developed for a photography class bearing images of this place. The falling down stone wall, just down a bit from our driveway. The driveway, where it met the railroad ties forming a retaining wall and a garden. A birdhouse hanging from the rafters of the front porch. Landmarks remain and bear witness.
Life was simple, (or is that nostalgia?) and tied only to one another, we swung freely into our future. We were young here, and our dreams were big. Plans for our future were forged here. When we sat on the front porch together, feet intertwined under our little bistro table, wine glasses perched atop, we schemed together about this wide future of ours. When we strolled hand in hand, walking together after work looking on the horse fields, we put words to our dreams. I’d go to school; you’d build your craft. We’d set out our sail, moving with the wind to find our place. And there would be babies, yes babies. We’d always talk of the babies. Our future was crafted, colored and created, in the places of our past.
So it was that today, as I steered the car around a rider on a horse, coming up on that artsy little village, a babe slumbering behind me, that I see this with such clarity. Mark, this is it: our now is our past’s future. This is our now. Visiting this piece of our history, my heart smiled, knowing again the places from which we’ve come. But I don’t want to go back. No, it is with true gratefulness that I embrace this present: dreams fulfilled, or not, some wilder than our imaginations would let us have then. We are made up of this past, and so much more.
Now, our walking adventures look different. Our hands still meet, still cling to one another, but our conversations are often puzzle pieces left to be sorted out later. If, later, we find those moments to sit with a glass of wine, our hearts poured out to each other, it is no longer in anticipation of what is to come, but it is reflection of what we now have.