There was a tree that stood old, crooked and tired by the pond.

A run through the cornfield brought us from pond to shelter when spring hail pelted our exposed backs. I don’t know what kind of tree it was, but it stands clear in my memory as witness to our childhood. It’s the landmark I look for still when I return home to examine the evidence that remains from another time and place.

I am a detective on my trips back in time. Some part of me believes that I will turn over a rock or stumble on a tree root that will expose or reveal a childhood treasure, some thing that waits for me, some thing that lives just out of view. Some part of me believes that the past exists in it’s entirety behind a veil and if I can chance upon the opening, that I will once again step into that untouched place.

The only thing left of the farmhouse I grew up in is a corner lot, two paved driveways and a single cement step. A lilac grows abundant and unchecked near the entrance. But was the bush on the right or the left of the path? There are only clues.

What do I need to do?

Smell the lilacs?

Enter the trees?

Walk along the pond’s edge?

Find a key buried in the dirt?

Maybe the barn swallows can lead me back. Maybe they know the path to the rafters and the pungent smell of fresh mowed hay.

I know it’s all there.

I know it’s all waiting for me.

I can feel it and taste it. Almost touch it.

There is my Aunt locking the screen door because she has just mopped the floor. There I am, banging on the latch to get in, unwilling to be separated.

My grandmother is asleep in the upstairs bedroom ~ or ~ looking out through lace curtains as my uncle plows the field below.

This place lives in me, so it must live out there as well, but how do I get to it?

How do I get back?

That time belongs to me, as surely as my skin and bone, but I can’t find it anymore.  I have lost it.

Where did it go?

I am the daughter of that time and place.

I am the daughter of the land.

The rest has just been story.

 written 5-7-08