Monday, December 22, 2008

playing hookey

I finished work early today- by 12:30PM I had seen all my patients and headed back to the office. There was nothing pressing to occupy me, so I wandered back out onto the streets. Restless, I called the office once again, but still there was nothing to do- so I headed south...

I came to the exit that leads home- and I passed it. Responsibility and common sense would have dictated that I head for home and prepare for Christmas- but there are times to throw responsibility and common sense to the wind.

Following my instincts- I continued south- to my grandfather's farm. The Scots have a theory that there are thin places on earth- places that are closer to heaven than any other. For me, my grandfather's farm is a thin place. Nestled on a dirt road, surrounded by peaks and valleys- it seems timeless. The old farmhouse is long gone- in it's place is a modern dwelling that seems to blend in. The outbuildings, however, are just the same. Two old barns- one newly sided in red, one worn to a soft grey. A white church sits on a hill in the middle of the farm. The stones in the old cemetery contain familar names. So many stories. John, who in his mid forties, fled from his home in Scotland, and met Mary on the boat. She was fourteen or so at the time. They married shortly after docking in New York. In pictures, he looks like a wild man. I often wonder what the child was thinking. Daniel, my great-grandfather, known for his temper and his restlessness. Anna, my gentle great grandmother.

I wonder what they found when they settled on this land. It is a blessing in my life that the farm remains in our family- It seems to me that if you have a place in your life that you can return to- you are blessed indeed. I am blessed.

I am blessed to remember an old white farmhouse and a grandmother who's arms were always open. I am blessed to remember pony carts and cousins. I blessed by the wisdom of my grandfather. I am blessed to find my father's initials carved on a large rock in the pasture- to have evidence that this man who died when I was only 5 climbed the same rocks, saw the same hills and felt the same breeze on his face.

At Christmas, I think, it is good to return for an afternoon to your roots. It is good to remember the love and the laughter. It is good to know from whence you came.

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