Thursday, December 9, 2010

Potency of Place

green house

I came across this abandoned farmhouse in Point Reyes, Ca. This incredibly beautiful area is bordered on 3 sides by the sea and Tomales Bay and is now a national park. Coast Miwok Indians lived here for Milllennia, and then in the 1850's immigrant dairy farmers arrived by boat from Switzerland, Denmark and the Portuguese Azores turning this area into one of the most productive dairy regions in California. Most of these farms are no longer operating but many of the buildings and barns of this time are still there. Although the houses and barns are empty now I can easily imagine those who struggled to make a new life in such a windswept remote landscape.

The older daughter is getting her hair cut on the porch whining to be done already, to be let free to go out into the fields of flowering clover, wild sage and blackberry. The din of bumblebees beckons her, the hum of an Indian summer that has gone on too long and especially the fragrance of alfalfa from the dairy, several fields away. Summer will end soon. The father is painting the house himself. Too proud to hire someone but also too poor. Planting the palm tree while his wife, holding their youngest child laughingly remarks that he will never be here to see it become full grown. He promises her it will grow fast. At least as fast as their two daughters, the second of which has now pulled free from her mother's hand, and is pushing her small perfect toes into the fresh turned soil of their new home. He pats the dirt around the base of the small slender palm with the back of his shovel. She holds onto her fathers left work boot and laughs. Her white cotton dress is darkened from the fresh earth. He wipes the sweat from his brow with the back of his sleeve and as he looks out across the fields towards the sea, realizes he is smiling.

2 comments:

ArtPropelled said...

A lovely piece of writing!

Maria Carluccio said...

What a wonderful way of looking at the world, imagining people's lives, years ago. You are truly a talented writer.