You amble down the dirt road, following deer tracks--each shaped like two perfect daisy petals pressed into earth. You are flanked by a wheat field to your right, the stalks chest high, and, on your left, acres of corn, the leaves barely reaching your shins.
It is a stunningly perfect evening. The smell of sweet grass blows through your hair and the slanting sun keeps you warm, but not too hot. You have only your iphone in your pocket and you are exploring while your kids watch Spongebob back at your parents' house.
You remember walking this stretch when you were sixteen, though not this exact road--it's newish, put in by the landowning farmer who has divided the fields into lots for development. You remember how you felt out in this country air when you were a teenager--every dew drop and milkweed seed weighted with possibility. A whole life laid out before you like a Google Earth satellite image of the world. Though it appeared less as gridded out meadows and more as meandering roads weaving around far away cliffs and waterfalls.
Now you can't summon that sense of excitement. This is it, your life. You have a good husband home in Seattle. Two kids with the potential to be great people if you can avoid screwing them up. No career to speak of. A dead cat you once were crazy about and still haven't gotten over. You have love, you tell yourself. You have fun things coming up on the horizon.
Love and some fun, this is true.
But still not that burgeoning wonder. Who will I be? Where will I live? What will I create? Will someone adore me?
You have many of the answers now.
Just as you are pondering this, not with grief but with a mental shrug, you come to the end of the road and, simultaneously, crest a hill. You see, across the rippling, breast-high grass, some sort of structure. An old house. An old, old house that looks unlived in.
Your heart pitter pats. You love this shit.
The house is more of a cabin, made of logs and a corrugated tin roof. There is a blue door, and as you come closer, you see that it's open.
You wish you'd brought your real camera, but you have only the pocketed iphone. Better than nothing, you think, and stream your way through the tall grass.
The inside of the house roasts. The outside walls are roughly chiseled, with two inner, paneled walls painted the same blue as the door. Running up the middle of the cabin is a stairway, splattered with animal excrement. You tiptoe past it, the whole house groaning under your weight, and see one large room tucked under the metal roof. You imagine how it would sound to lie there in bed while it rains.
Who lived here? You wonder. How was the furniture arranged? Back down the steps: What sorts of dishes lined the tall, empty cabinet? What joys and sadnesses happened beneath the strong beams?
You realize you're excited by possibilities in a way you haven't been for a while. You take photos and vow to come back with your other camera on the next sunny evening.
You are buoyant. Maybe not 16, but not a haggard 42 either.
And your heart, a little black from years of wear and tear, is happy to see the property's for sale sign knocked down, laying half buried in the dirt.