Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge is our farm. Or rather, my family’s farm. It has been in our family for the better part of 200 years now, the stories tucked into its ridges and furrows are as numerous as the seeds my Granddaddy planted there.
The stories are common enough. Years the crops failed or the market was so poor that there could only be Christmas for the youngest. Work-pinching innumerable bugs off potato plants (My grandaddy used to keep count of all the bugs pulled off the crops and compare them from year to year. He used it as a gauge of what conditions produced the least bugs. He was a meticulous man). Baking. Cleaning. Play.
The interesting thing about common stories is the graspable beauty of them. I love a good fantasy – Tolkien and I are well acquainted, but there is a part of those stories which never fully satisfy me. I think it because, as much I would like to, I can never join that world. That doesn’t stop me from taking magnificent flights of fancy – my imagination and I are also well acquainted, but the common stories, are all the more poignant for their reality.
I could live the life described.
I understand the pain and the ache of the failures because they are ones I have experienced as well. The plans that went awry after months of effort. The unexpected end to a cherished hope. The loss of loved ones.
But I know the joys too. The joy of the perfect loaf of bread coming out of the oven and wafting delectable tendrils of scent all around the house, sledding down hills covered in downy blankets of snow, and having the ones you love around you.
I know this. I have felt these emotions. And I hope to feel them again.
This is the power of common stories – they are evocative of human experience.
The family farm represents the human experience of my family.
The farm has been mentioned numerous times by myself and the women in my family as I have spoken to them over the course this year. I wanted to share some pictures of it; hopefully, it will help fill in your mental image of a much-loved homeplace.