“The truth is, until you know any different, the island is enough.
Actually, I know different. And it’s still enough.”
Maggie Stiefvater, The Scorpio Races
For the past five nights, the song of the peepers has risen to a crescendo. I hear them ululate their mating arias and the notes fill me with joy and profound hiraeth. It is a song that heralds the arrival of Spring and I look forward to it every year. And no where does it sound sweeter than here on this little plot of land.
Many people have badgered my mother (and indirectly, me) to sell this place. The old house is too big, needs too much work, the land is too valuable to just let it sit open and unused. But this place isn’t just a house and some land. It’s a home filled with memories — good and bad — and a land arable and ripe with a potential harvest of both flora and fauna.
It is both a sanctuary and a battle-ground. A place to rest and a place to drop all the masks imposed by daily living. A place that is etched in my soul so deeply, I fear to lose it would be to lose my very identity. Land, like art, doesn’t need to be merely useful or filled with buildings and concrete and commercialism in order to be valuable. It has value just by being; it has value in providing an open, empty space to rest one’s eyes. It has value to the bees and other pollinators who roam the wild flowers, annuals, and perennials that are sown here — either by me or the birds.
One of my cousins once asked me why I cared so passionately about the loss of farmland — especially here in my hometown. In his view, there were “other farms located in other places. It doesn’t matter if these particular ones are lost.” Aside from factors like increased carbon emissions from trucking food from those farms and the prolonged time it sits on the shelves or in freezers, there is the loss of a local culture and identity and hands on knowledge of where my food comes from, not to mention the beauty of lush fields of produce or rolling hills dotted with farm animals. Those losses matter quite a bit to more than just me.
As for this little “bit of earth” I grew up on, to even mention leaving it not even a year after losing my father — who loved it also and worked so hard on it — seems intensive to the point of rudeness. To lose such a visceral and tactical connection would be yet another wound of loss ripped through my soul.
No, thank you. I’ll keep this old house, with its memories and slightly warped floors and an ever-growing fix it list. I’ve tried other places, lived in other cities. This is the only place that speaks to my healing heart. It is the only place that is enough.
Joining the Five Minute Friday writing prompt challenge as part of my goal to write and publish once a week in 2019. Find out more here.
Image copyright 2019 MAG
A member of the Water Street Writers, Mikaela D’Eigh is a writer, poet, and lover of Scotch. She lives out in the country with two Egyptian gods disguised as cats, a herd of cows, and a flock of wild turkeys. Check her out at La Belle Dame Merci and on Medium for more articles, poetry, and shenanigans.