Years and years and even more years ago your grandparents or great-grandparents or great-great-great-great grandparents may have carved a homestead on the land.
They tilled the earth with plows and horses. They planted seed to feed their families. They sweated, they laughed, they cursed, they survived.
Today their homesteads crumble into the earth. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. The old buildings are disappearing quickly. Every day the sun and wind and snow and earth takes a little more of wood and brick.
I woke early this morning with a Plan. To photograph The House! The old, old homestead along Skanee Road. I’ve been waiting for about a year until the right moment happened.
The right moment meant: perfect lighting, perfect timing, perfect camera.
I notice the chiffon-colored sky on the way into work. It would be a perfect moment! NOW was the time to photograph the old house!
I drove up to the house with great excitement.
But–but–WHERE WAS THE HOUSE??
It was gone.
How could an old house simply have disappeared after a century?
But, sure enough, the house was gone. (Later my friend, Jan, said they tore it down last fall.)
If you wait for the perfect moment, it may never come.
Grab your imperfect moments, dear friends! Sometimes they are all that we have.
The lives of the homesteaders–your grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles–must have been filled with imperfect moments. Moments of squabble, of fear, of challenge. Mixed in with moments of joy, laughter and contentment.
How much has really changed?
The old homesteads are crumbling everywhere now. Last summer I noticed that the old barns in Michigan are slowly disappearing. How many years until the last one tumbles into the earth?
Let’s appreciate them while they remain. Let us remember our grandmas and grandpas. Let us honor the ones who tilled the land where we someday would build our fine houses.
Perhaps, as the January moonlight streams into your bedroom, your great-great grandmother will silently walk into your dreams and share stories of long-ago lives.
Don’t be afraid.
Welcome her into your midnight world. Get up and make tea for both of you. Listen to what she shares. Listen to her hardships, her delights. Take them to your heart.
Even though the buildings crumble away, hold fast to the spirit of your ancestors. They still love you. Even now.