Uncovering The Path.

September 14, 2010

You may remember that last spring, we moved into the house that my great grandmother spent her days in, with the full intention and ambition of loving it back to its glory life of 1925 (but with air conditioning and indoor plumbing). I do realize that last spring was about a million days ago (1 mil. = 215) and I haven’t said much about it since. This is partially because we’ve been working on it. And partially because, for whatever reason, I’ve had a bit of a hard time writing about it.

Regarding the working on it: Well, you see, there’s a lot to it. And as I sit here, it is literally surrounding me. There are so many things to do, and the list seems to be growing. In other words, this property truly is the physical manifestation of a project waiting to happen. And that can be sorta exhausting. Or exciting. Or exhausting. Depending on the hour.

Regarding the writing about it: I don’t know why this is. I do believe a lot of the hesitation stems from the fact that it really does mean so much to me. I grew up visiting this home quite often. My four-year-old self played hopscotch on the porch, my fourteen-year-old self sneaked out of the old person’s party to watch 16 Candles up the street on a neighbor’s new Laserdisc. (Oh the magic of the home video disc format!) And it’s not just me. A lot of people have entered and exited these doors in a lot of different stages of their lives. The other day, I found a box full of photos from the late 1940s. A few of them were taken around the house, in the house. People that I loved, people who are no longer with us, spent their days here. What were they really like? What were they really thinking? I think about this a lot. For me, imagination and realization have always lived hand and hand. And I’m realizing a lot about my present, the more I imagine about their past.

In fact, the past, present and future all exist simultaneously in every doorknob, in every window. And there are past memories and future hopes waiting to be uncovered in the most unexpected places. For instance, the other day we were working outside in the formerly overgrown backyard…

That’s what it looked like in April when we moved in. Just sort of jumbled, with random structures and useless fences.

The next photo was taken yesterday from the exact same spot.

Clearer. Cleaner. With room to breathe a bit. You might even notice a path that wasn’t there before.

Here’s a better look.

The next photo is taken at basically the same place today.

The barn was always there, it was just covered up by that useless, overgrown fence.

And the path was always there too.

We just couldn’t see it.

Well, we could kind-of see it in some places. Sometimes.


But it just looked like a few random bricks here and there.

So we started digging. And the more we uncovered, the more we found.

Turns out, my great grandparents laid this path together when they were in their seventies.

I love that.

And I love that there are treasures to be found with just a little digging.

Do you see how the life symbolism is literally coming out of the ground around here.

And it’s leading a path.

A path that goes straight to my new little garden.

15 by 30 feet of fertile, if not a little rocky, space. Space to grow some things.

Stay tuned.

Soundtrack: Awake My Soul, Mumford and Sons

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  • Reply Pamela September 14, 2010 at 10:00 am

    Lovely! I love the little path and the garden burgeons with possibilities! I’m a little further from a garden here (too rocky!) but I’m also excited and exhausted.

  • Reply Kristy September 14, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Amazing. I love the idea of restoring an old house, especially one that has been in your family. I hope you keep uncovering treasures. I live in an old (rental) house and unfortunately, all I keep finding are uninvited and unwelcome guests. 🙂 (ick)

  • Reply Erin September 14, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    This is super wonderful.

  • Reply Judy September 14, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Laura and Jimmy, when I see these pictures and hear your thoughts, my soul swells with joy and great pride at the same time for you. Joy that you are discovering and pride that you are doing it. I’m sure your family, that has been there before you, is watching, guiding and loving what you are doing to the place.

  • Reply Nicky Schroeder Duewall September 14, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    Just beautiful!

  • Reply UpsideUp September 17, 2010 at 11:33 am

    This is one your all-time loveliest posts, Laura. Congratulations on all the treasures. And on your ability to find and recognize them. Can’t wait to hang out in that gorgeous backyard with you.

  • Reply katy September 17, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    I feel like it is odd and a bit trite to comment but this little it bit of your history almost brings a tear to my eye, it is beautiful and hopeful and bursting with future. Good luck, and congrats on your new discovery!! How fun!

  • Reply Sandi September 17, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    I had the same experience (and experienced the same joy!) when I discovered the treasure of a buried pathway in the yard of my first home…what an imagination sparker! I spent hours daydreaming about what living in my home would have been like for the folks who created the brick path that time had all but erased.

    I was tempted to dig up the rest of the yard to find more treasure, but thankfully I soon added a dog to our family that pretty much took care of that chore for me. 🙂

  • Reply Victoria September 18, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Beautiful path. How lovely to have discovered it. The colours are still wonderful.

  • Reply tea_austen September 26, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    I love seeing this, Laura, after hearing your story–how magical!

    I’m not surprised you don’t want to write about it much, it’s personal.

    That said, if you ever wanted to write a book…it would make a compelling story.

    Just saying’

    Is “write a book” on your list?



  • Reply It really ties the room together. — TheBloggess.com October 10, 2010 at 10:01 am

    […] Uncovering the path. […]

  • Reply Carmella October 10, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    I loved what you said about the “doorknob”. It’s so true, the idea that in some way their finger prints are still there. The people that we love may be gone, but they still echo a little in each of us. The path is beautiful!

  • Reply Maggie Mason October 11, 2010 at 11:41 am

    Oof. I love this.

  • Reply Margaret Goerig October 12, 2010 at 4:38 am

    “What were they really like? What were they really thinking?”
    When you asked that of the people who once went through your old house, it really resonated with me. I have recently found myself thinking that about the people I knew or met as a child, and I guess it’s just a sign of growing up and realizing the complexities of people, and realizing that you are now one of those very adults, and that it’s not just as simple as Adults vs. Children.

  • Reply Heather Barton October 12, 2010 at 11:43 am

    This is an incredibly wonderful example of how people and places, events and memories all mix together, yet retain all their importance when we look, discover, dig beyond our daily perceptions. I chose the long, tattered oriental hall rug from the estate when my great grandfather passed away. I had many childhood memories with him that I treasure and the rug is long like a textured path. My mother tells me I learned to crawl on it.. I like to think I began my exploratory personality then.

    Although sometimes I think the highest level of path exploration I get daily is digging through the toys strewn about on the floor of the boys room!

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