We gave my father a digital camera for his birthday, and for a test photo, he walked over to a window, took a picture his backyard, and emailed the photo to me. Since I only live about six miles away, it was kind of silly, but I liked the shot. And I figured I would put it up on my blog, even though my parents don't know about my blog.
Here is where I am from, the place where I lived for the first 23 years of my life. That little red barn once housed a horse, an appaloosa that we would ride in the fields back beyond the house. The hayloft above the horse stall was a great place for pajama parties, all of us unrolling sleeping bags onto the scratchy hay, a comfy place to lie awake and talk all night. During my teenage years, I would sometimes sneak up to the hayloft with a boyfriend on a hot summer night.
The clothesline always served as first base for whatever game we were playing – softball, kickball, or whiffle ball. Sometimes this meant running through wet laundry that hung down in your face. I can remember standing on first base, getting into long conversations with my mother as she hung out the laundry. That canoe alongside the barn is one of mine. I have canoes stashed all over the place.
You can't tell, but under the snow behind the clothesline is a well that still runs over every spring. My father dug that well when he built the house back in the 1950s. That well was one of the last projects he ever did with his own father, who was diagnosed with cancer just after my parents bought the land and who died before the house was completed. My grandfather was a master carpenter. He and my father had built many houses together – my Dad started building houses when he was just a kid – and my parents' house was their last.
To the right of the barn, also hidden under snow, is a big vegetable garden. I have many childhood memories of helping my mother plant seedlings or weed rows of plants. Even now, when I go over there for lunch, she might send me out to the garden to pick a tomato or onion. My parents raise most of their own vegetables and keep them in a cold room and a deep freeze.
Of course, it is winter right now and it is snowing in the photo – the kind of thick snow that sticks to the ground, that piles into drifts. I am from a place that gets a whole lot of snow.