Friday, May 28, 2010

The Farm Where I Grew Up

Sometimes going on a journey to the past is painful, sometimes joyful and sometimes shocking. Mine was a little bit of all of that. Last weekend I went to where I grew up. The purpose of the journey was that I was asked to do the Internment ceremony for my sister who died last year. But I also wanted to show my niece the place where I grew up and where she spent the first 2 years of her life. The farm was bought when my father retired and was never lived in since then. That would be almost 25 years ago. Now what was once a beautiful big house is a hollowed out shell that is so run down we almost expected the gale wind to blow it over.

Lots of memories came flooding back to me. Happy family gatherings, the farm kitchen table with all the farm hands sitting around it at harvest, and some of the not so fun memories of physical and emotional abuse I experienced at the hands of my father and older brother. I was amazed at how large the evergreen trees that I planted when I was a child had become! But as we made our way back to the car, which we parked in the second driveway and walked in from, I couldn't help but feel as hollow and empty as the house and the old barn that was almost falling over. This is a phase of my life that is completely over. I let the memories go, good and bad, and allow them to blow away with the wind of that day.

I am also amazed and proud of the people that we have become since then. By this I am referring to both myself and my niece. We have, despite some of the abuse and neglect that we experienced in our early lives, become strong and dynamic individuals who are creative and intelligent and full of promise. This can be taken away by no one. This is the medicine we will pass down to our children so that they, too, will become strong and amazing individuals. It really doesn't matter where we grew up, or who brought us up. What matters is what we do with the experiences and how we transmute the negatives into powerful medicines with which we can walk through the rest of our lives.

Blessed Be
Posted by Picasa


Vanitha said...

Walk tall and proud Deer Shaman, you've grown up as beautifully and strong as those once small saplings you planted!

Gail said...

For quite a number of years I have been drawn to photograph places like the one you grew up in. I often wonder, while I'm snapping shot after shot, who lived there and what took place on the property from the time the house was built and first lived in and up to the day the door was closed for the last time. I've imagined joyful events and sad, painful times.
Thank you for sharing your experience of seeing your childhood home after more than 25 years of neglect. My imaginings weren't so far off the mark after all.

My Kateness said...

The sight of these abandoned old farmhouses creates sadness and curiosity in me. The one I spent a lot of time in as a child -- my grandparents' -- now exists only in my memory and the memories of others who were also there. At least we have that! I would love to know about the lives that were lived in these old houses; much as I wonder about the people whose names are carved on their tombstones. The old houses seem equally as mysterious.

Marion said...

I love the photo and the message. My childhood home has not deteriorated, but the feelings associated with it were quite brutal when I visited. But just like you, I overcame the bad stuff and they don't have the power to hurt anymore. I can really relate to this post...thank you!

Anonymous said...

Great last sentence! Yes, going back to a childhood home can be difficult, but, in some ways, it might be good that the house was vacant. Or maybe it's just different.

The place where I grew up is now in the city along with a new highway bypass, all the woods are gone, and although someone lives in the house, everything looks overgrown and neglected. It wasn't surprising so much as unrecognizable--as if my experiences never existed! But, of course, they did. I'm lucky to have mostly good memories of that house and that land, and it all made me who I am today.

Anonymous said...

This was...a phenomenal experience!I was literally in awe! I am so grateful I was able to physically go back to where it all started, and let go of some things that needed to be released for a long time...mmmm... Words cannot express my gratitude for this trip!

Thank you <3