The open barn door both invited and repelled. I had not been inside for more years than I can recall.Â Despite the dust and decay, my memories of how it used to look were intact. Did I want to disturb the dream?
The reason I had returned to my childhood home was to help my siblings write thank you notes following Dadâ€™s funeral.Â It seemed we were all lost in some phase of the past as we wandered the grounds and tried to make sense of then and now.
My brother, looking for momâ€™s old horse saddles, wondered if they were worth putting up for auction when that time comes. As he wandered down the aisle where the milk cows once stood, I tried hard to call forth the sights, sounds, and smells of my childhood. Â But alas, they were not among the clutter.
After rummaging around in piles of various rusted treasure, we next went to the main area of the pole barn.Â The stall where my horse often spent cold winter nights now held a disabled tractor. Â I had Â known joy in my youth when, upon entering the barn my horse, Flame, arched her neck over the half-door and whinnied a greeting. Â Wasnâ€™t that just yesterday?
I looked up, and to the left, and saw the tattered basketball hoop still remained.Â The netting, ancient now, hung by a single-strand as if to say, â€œIâ€™m not much, but I havenâ€™t given up. How about you?â€Â The site caught me by the throat.Â How many games of HORSE had my brothers and I played using that hoop?Â Countless. Â The game often went something like this– â€œOkay, Iâ€™ll stand behind this hay bale, spin three times, and toss the basketball with my left hand.Â Oooo, couldnâ€™t do it?Â â€˜H.â€™â€
Outside, behind the barn, I tripped over a cement slab hidden in the tall grass.Â It used to be a walkway for the cattle and horses as they entered.Â Everything looked foreign, as if a time-windstorm had swept away my memories. Â Where were the white fences that once framed our farm? Where were the horses, the cows, the Samoyed dog at my side? Â Gone. Gone. Gone.
I tried to see if the creek was still there, but didnâ€™t have on shoes that would take me beyond the high ground.Â As a kid I wouldnâ€™t have thought twice about sacrificing shoes for an adventure, but now it oddly seemed to matter.Â â€œAnother day,â€ I thought, and wandered back towards the present.
I fear I assume too much.