It was nothing much to look at. When folks found themselves that far down the winding backroad they were much more concerned with finding the highway back to civilization than noticing the ramshackle building.
The wooden structure boasted faded spots of paint that barely hung on to the dilapidated boards. The sides leaned just slightly to the right. Tall grasses and young trees had sprung up around the building completely obscuring the view of anything below the windows. The top edge of something that might have been columns on a front porch were just visible above the wild growth.
I parked my car at the edge of the road and got out. Something about the building called to me. It was two stories, or had been decades ago. Most likely any flooring inside would have rotted out or collapsed. The farm had been owned by the same family for generations and the old, original house has been abandoned for a newer sturdier building nearer the lake. In the hustle of running the farm, no one had ever made it back over to tear it down and clear the land.
A few decades ago, before the vegetation reigned supreme, teenagers likely made their way out to the structure to loiter and party where no adult eyes looked over them in judgment. In recent years, no longer would even such bold youth grace the place with their presence.
I looked at the sad, tired, forgotten building and imagined the life it once held. What stories could it tell if it were given a moment to be sentient? A family had lived within its walls. A couple lived, loved, argued, made up, and laughed in each of the rooms. Meals had been prepared, likely by a woman. She must have cooked, cleaned, laughed and cried in that house. She probably even gave birth within those walls. Babies had likely taken their first breath on this earth in that building. Elderly family members took their last ones there too.
I felt both comforted and saddened as I stood with my feet on the gravel of the road, leaning against my car. I was drawn by the story and repelled by the sadness. For one fanciful moment I imagined the house was trying to tell me something. “Don’t worry about what seems lost.” it seemed to say. “Go back to your people and live your life. One day they will have only the memory of you to sustain them.”
I shook off the mood and got back in my car. As I glanced in the side mirror as I drove away I could almost see beyond the overgrown abandoned years to a time when there were children racing around the house, their laughter echoing across the field while their mother stood on the porch laughing at their antics.