Friday, October 23, 2015

Whisperings and Explorings

 Indistinct; from which direction come the sounds? Standing on a creaking board I hesitate, trying to absorb it all. Though it's sunny outside, it's chill and dim here inside. The old living room wallpaper still shows the taste of a former rancher wife. Large pieces are peeling off the walls, but overall there is still a cheerfulness and hominess to the pattern. As I move into the kitchen I can see that the wooden kitchen cupboards are painted green, and adorned with old chrome handles. Some of the doors are hanging crookedly by just one hinge, and the old white porcelain sink is streaked with rust stains and dirt. Amazingly, the window glass is still here, but is too smeared and dirty for me to see through. I can imagine that the same rancher wife must have had a good view from her kitchen sink of the high desert sagebrush, the vast sky, and maybe even livestock grazing. The pack rats have been busy, making piles of debris across the old linoleum floor, and I move gingerly. Something catches my eye on one of the kitchen shelves and I reach up to find a very old pack of Rolaids that has been chewed on and then rejected.
Next I climb the narrow back stairs, watching for rotting wood, and gain the second floor. Walking through a succession of small rooms, presumably bedrooms, I scan for bits of lives left behind: an old metal curtain rod perhaps, or any furniture or broken items left behind, unheeded. The wind gently blows around the eaves up here, and I feel those whose lives were bound up in this place. Little skittering noises run around the floorboards, but all else is entombed in the whispering silence. How many children were tucked into bed up here? I know there were children as there are still broken swings in the yard. How many seasons of harvest did this family see? Was it a good life?
Back downstairs in the main room, I stand before the stone, cold fireplace, once the heart of the home. It looks to be made of rock possibly quarried from the surrounding dessert. There is a dusty, broken desk in a corner, and piles of leaves strewn about the wooden floor. Abandoned and lonely, the home whispers of its past, its glory days and its stories to any who will pause and listen in the silence. I can almost feel the people who once lived here, can almost touch their lives. This is the place where together they struggled, laughed, despaired, cried and loved. This is the house they called home and that sheltered them. They once came and I've gone back, so the two of us can almost, almost touch.
I shiver and head for the back door, back to sunlight and the company of my real-life husband. He is sitting on an old rusty abandoned tractor, lost in his own thoughts for a moment. Beside the back door a lone rose still blooms, on a bush struggling for life. As I bend to smell, it also whispers to me that here in this lonely place there is still life and beauty .

By Jennie


JoAnn Asmussen said...

What a lovely moment you have captured. Enchanting through and through, and it pulls the reader in very well. I like it. :)

Peter Jones said...

Wow! Very cool! You know I love places like this too. I remember finding one with you when we went camping with Peter years and years ago. I love the way you described everything. It was interesting and held my attention. It made me wish you could give me some lessons in writing! ~Julie