I had a chance to visit “my” homestead last week, the inspiration for “Gone Missing.” I had a few days off and decided I needed some time traveling relaxation. So once again, I sat in the warm sun and pondered those iris. They’re still there, under that window, covered now with debris from a dead larch but okay. Nothing has changed in that little pocket of woods keeping the secrets of those few old buildings, except for lots more trees. I couldn’t see the big field from the house anymore. I couldn’t see the river or the tracks but a train blasted by while I was there and no question how close the tracks are. Were there more trains going by when she lived there or fewer? Did she hear them go by when she was planting those iris. Did the gritty smoke float down over her garden? So much to wonder about.
My friend Phyllis gave me a rose start from the homestead property that adjoins hers. There’s nothing left of the old homestead but a couple of fruit trees and a fence line draped with these lovely yellow roses. They were probably planted there 100 years ago on the hill above town. This year my little start bloomed profusely, growing happily where I planted it so I could see it from the house for a little time traveling speculation on a daily basis. A farmer’s wife planted those roses. Did she plant them as a reward when they’d finished planting their orchard? Did she get a start as a gift from a friend? What was town like then?
While running the dogs one day, me and my friend, Suzanne, came upon several stands of yellow roses and lilacs that had spread and suckered along the edges of a broad field. The area is part of a fish and wildlife preserve now with several ponds full of ducks and cattails, but no sign of any buildings. Was it hard for the woman who planted those bushes to leave them behind one day? Did her house burn down? Does she still have family nearby? I think she’d be pleased to know her flowering shrubs are still thriving out there in the valley and visited by girls walking their dogs who admire them. And, of course, I brought a little start of each home to preserve her legacy – more for me to enjoy and speculate on going backwards into time.