|The view from the road|
Nearly a year ago I returned to my favorite childhood home and was reminded that I don't need to go halfway around the world to chase my roots. Yes, the more I want to know, the farther I must travel, because those roots burrow centuries-deep into Britain and Germany and France -- but they start here. Finding Annescroft was another valuable piece of the puzzle I'm trying to put together. The names on my family tree represent real people who lived and breathed and loved -- In great-grandfather Wheater's case, love looked like building someone else a home in a place that would bind up a broken spirit with the bandages of beauty and rest. He and his brother are gone now, but the house stands as a testament to their relationship. That spirit of gracious hospitality and service also stands, living on in my grandmother and her daughters. On my birthday a few years ago my mother gave me an antique serving tray. It has a sturdy wicker base and handles, and a pane of glass in the bed of the tray presses wildflowers and butterflies gathered around Annescroft. They were gathered in the 1920s by my great-grandmother (maybe with my Grandma's help?) and retained to remind her of the beauty. Nearly a century later, they are still vibrant and I love to look at them and imagine my great-grandmother roaming the sunny fields around the farm. I'm so thankful for things like old houses and wicker trays, the tangible things, the conduits for the characteristics my ancestors possessed and the lives they dreamed for their descendants.
When I knocked at the door today to ask the owner's permission to take a few photos, he shook my hand warmly and asked my name. He seemed kind, and that made me glad despite the disappointment of the house's ramshackle appearance. After all, it's kindness that lasts.