I drive from my house to my home.
Up in the cove will always be home, anywhere else is just where I happen to be living at the time. Every time I go it occurs to me that I may never really get back there. And every time I go, something seems to have changed. A field is flooded, for good. A tree falls down. The tractor shed blows away. Someone puts up another “No Trespassing” sign.
I turn down my parents road. A neighbor cleared off the lot next to the road. It looks nice, but it’s different.
There are two houses on the road. Home, and our next door neighbor’s. In past conversations with my husband he has told me we have two neighbors, the one to the left and the one to the right. In Limrock, neighbors include everyone you know in Limrock and those you don’t too.
Neighbors share things with each other. Recipes, tomatoes, baked goods, the news. At 35, I still witness it through the eyes of a child, knowing I’ll never really be a part of it because I came along too late.
I pull up in the driveway. Only one dog greets me. Old Daisy. She’s blind, maybe deaf. She’s broke down. A little rat terrier. She’s killed more rats and snakes than we know. Her pal Spike didn’t make it through the winter this year. She won’t make it much longer either.
We have breakfast. The best breakfast I’ve had in forever. I eat two or three sausages even though the doctor told me not to because of salt.
The boy wants to fish, but first he must help plant the cabbages and the onions. Little sister finds an empty and washed out hot sauce bottle and a tape measure and entertains herself.
The wind is blowing. Rain will come soon.
I want to take a walk in the mountain. I take the boy with me. It’s been years since I’ve been on the little trail behind the house. I remember the time my dad took me up there to look for leprechauns. It’s almost Saint Patrick’s Day again. That’s strange timing.
We are almost to the end of our property and the bird dog scares up a deer. We can only see its white tail as it barrels down the hill and through the brush. We turn around. The boy runs far ahead of me. I know he feels the same freedom I used to feel when I’d wonder up there after school. I pick some dead wildflowers with the seeds still intact. I’ll see if I can grow the in my garden.
Now the dog scares up a rabbit. It runs away, but it makes a lot of noise. We can hear the leaves rustling for a while.
It’s sprinkling now. The boy goes fishing with my dad and brother. I don’t want to get wet or hurt their feelings by out-fishing them. So I stay at the house with Mama and little sister.
Sister takes a nap. And I go to the den. Mama says it makes her too nervous to have anybody in the kitchen. She’s cooking fish.
There’s nothing on tv. I build myself a fire. How many afternoons and evenings have I sat in that room with a fire crackling in the stove? I close my eyes and dream of cold places. Montana. Alaska.
I eat too much dinner, and it’s time to leave.
I clean the boy up and fix sister a bottle for the road. She’s probably relieved to be going. She isn’t yet used to the world outside our house. The boy finds a puddle to jump in, soiling his clean legs and shoes with mud.
Mama wipes him off. He doesn’t want to leave. I don’t want to either.
“We’ll come back tomorrow,” he says.
“Or the day after,” I reply.
Danielle Wallingsford Kirkland is a former Sentinel staff writer and correspondent. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.