Sunday, April 27, 2014


We cousins met to salvage what we could from our Uncle Doug’s homestead. It’s being sold off and it was our last chance to repurpose some of the items left behind. He’s been gone for a year and a half; it was time, but it pains us because his 2 acres are so magical, so wild and reckless. The new owner will change it for sure. They’ll trim the trees, clean up the flowerbeds, make it respectable. Dang. I love it the way it is.

Doug was good at breaking rules and his rule-breaking in the garden meant the unexpected around every pathway. A clothesline sagging between spruce trees. A climbing row of sweet peas against an abandoned shed. Pansies in a dilapidated cement-mixing wheel barrow. And daffodils . . . everywhere, in random displays.    

Mark helped me retrieve a few treasures from the house. He fancied the old black rotary phone on the wall. The long spiral cord is thick, the receiver feels heavy in your hand. Unlike the modern smartphone, there's no question where you talk and where you listen. Hmmm, an analogy to contemporary life? Mark got out his pocketknife and cut the two gray cords which brought the world to the kitchen of my uncle’s house. What a modern treasure the phone was when first installed! Mark says it will look good hanging in the scale house, waiting for a phone call from God, I guess.

All of us nieces have taken a bit of Doug home with us. I have his rickety ladder placed against a tall cottonwood, its one loose rung at a haphazard angle (no climbing, it’s just for looks). Now I’ve added three baby cedars and some blue flax to my xeriscaping out the back door, a few lava rocks to guard the cedars and a solid wooden door that leans against the garage wall for some unknown future use. 
We also found this, written on a faded card tacked in a doorway: “life’s heaviest burden is having nothing to carry.” Mark took it down and put it in his vest pocket. On a day with a million things weighing on his mind, it seems fitting. 

quakie grove with daffodils - perfect

faded chinese lanterns, still beautiful

the "little white house," where my folks lived for a time

I wish I could take the greenhouse home!

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