The weekend awaits filled with the hope of finally being in our house. Yes, our house. What a strange thought. The anticipation of beginning our life in this simple place has been building for weeks. Too long I’ve moved from one borrowed space to the next. Yet, as we move into our own house there is still a sense of otherness. The kitchen is not our kitchen. The shower is not our shower. The papers are signed and the bills are due, but something still lacks.
Inside, there are big bare walls and windows looking out onto property that is still a mystery to me. The snow-covered back yard is overrun and run down. The dark earth filled with frozen acorns is another man’s earth. Turned a strange sickly green by Mother Nature’s mold, the land sits under a jagged coat of leaves leftover from the turning of the seasons. Massive oak trees stand watch out front. Wooden pillars stretching long and far, their mighty arms are ten thousand fingers strong and sharp.
Water flows through the yard like a river as it rains, puddling at the base of trees now dead. Drowned by the remnants of a million raindrops limber limbs now lie hollow and brittle. Broken daggers stick in the earth piercing through layers of molding leaves that smell strongly of autumn and for a moment flash orange and gold across my corneas reminding me of better times.
Other proud trees abound with broken branches hanging low looking like massive arms ripped out of socket. Torn tendons leave limbs dangling at strange angles. The branches dig into the dirt as if the trees are kneeling in defeat. Weary from neglect they lower their laurels waiting for the inevitable roar of the chain saw and the warmth of licking flames in the hearth.
This is another man’s earth. This is another man’s hearth where small flames dance as warm smoke drifts up the flue. How long, I wonder, will it be till this place feels like home? How long until the walls are filled with pictures from my life? How long until the windows look out onto freshly planted bushes and trees rising up rather than falling down? How long till this small red brick house ceases to be borrowed ground?
It is in my blood to roam, but here amongst the oak trees kneeling in prayer I feel the beat and the rhythm of God. Here I will lay down roots and join the trees in their silent ritual of holy supplication. May this small plot of land be a fragment of Canaan; a land set apart. A land brimming with hope and life and rest. May it be for me, a wanderer, a long awaited home.