I’ve been in Minnesota the past two weeks helping move my folks out of the old farmhouse where I grew up. There was plenty of work (have I EVER carried so many boxes?) and plenty of laughs with my siblings, parents and friends. The ‘estate’ sale went off without a hitch due to the help of many friends who gave up vacation days and weekends to be part of it. But there were also plenty of tears.
The house at sunset.
I chose to drive to Minnesota with my dogs instead of flying because I wanted the time to travel there and back to be substantial. The thought of traveling by air for this event was off-putting not only because of the hassles of flying but because of the ease and speed. There were a few additional reasons to drive that had to do with schedule and family which make it seem a more reasonable, less irrational choice. But I wanted that time alone.
There aren’t many other events in life that can cause this much reflection. If you are a Friend on Facebook you’ve already read a bit about it. And I don’t want to add too much here.
However the place I grew up, the physical place, has a lot to do with who I am. We had an entire river valley to explore growing up. Riding horses in the pastures and forest, finding salamanders in the window wells, crawfish and mud puppies in the St. Croix River. If I wasn’t drawing or making stop motion animated films I was wandering the country side.
The barn, my dad’s studio and the tent for the big sale.
There weren’t many kids near me, but in the summer some people had cabins along the river so I had other kids to hangout with. I suspect this lack of other kids explains the introspective part of my nature. I was the youngest so by a relatively young age my brothers and sisters were gone on to their own lives.
The house, the land I grew up on are practically mythical to me. And for many years I was sure I would head back and buy the place.
But life does not always go according to plan. Things change for good and for bad and my life developed differently.
My dog Angel chasing frogs on the banks of the St. Croix River.
I didn’t leave because I didn’t love that place. And throughout my life, no matter where I moved, that was home. Even here at my house of 7 years I can’t quite feel the same sense of place.
My only solace is that growing old, growing up, whatever you want to call it, demands an ability to say goodbye; to people, places and things. This is not easy. It isn’t supposed to be. But with the goodbyes come opportunities to say hello not only to new people but also new incites. Opportunities to grow beyond what you were and continue on the path to whatever you will become.
In the end it is just a house to almost anyone else. A piece of property that has a value attached to it in dollars. Most others will view it as a buying opportunity, a hindrance or a dream come true. It is a reminder that the most important things in our lives are projections from within us that change what we are looking at because of experiences, memories and emotions. It will always be my home, even when it isn’t.
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