I went home yesterday, to my childhood home. I deposited Nolan for mowing duty and Colton went along to help watch out for Grandpa. A trip to mom and dad's house is more of a mixed bag of emotions these days. You can't help but notice the deteriorating house. The peeling paint, the cracked driveway. The house that is too much upkeep for the aging owners who are unable to bare the thought of leaving. I pull the mower out of the jumble of anitquated stuff, too old for use anymore, but too riddled with memories to throw. My old rusty and moldy stroller, with only patches of the aqua blue seat still discernible to the trained eye. The remnants of dad's tools, collected from years of making cabinets by trade, waiting for my brother to claim one day. My eyes quickly skim over the boxes of unknown content sitting in stacks and piles, as I tug on the mower and escape.
I grab the camera, to shift my focus, to clear my cluttered mind. I don't have to look far to find the trail leading back to my youth. The streets are still adorned with crabapples trees. We had an enormous one in our backyard. But mom grew tired of the mess from the crabapples and it was pruned one day, into an anorexic jumble of bare limbs, no longer suitable for climbing.
Before crossing the street I am saddened to find the "Ok" in blue on the stump left over from the elm tree on the boulevard. There used to be two, each lost only in the last year, to dutch elm disease. The city of Moorhead stamping approval to chisel the last of the stump and roots from their home of over 40 years. Across the street you can see the majesty of these giant elm trees that once adorned the neighborhood. Just north on this street, is where many of these trees remain, forming a canopy over the streets when the leaves are at their fullest.
But in the other direction across the street, I find a crabapple tree in all its pink glory. I lose myself shooting up through the bottom branches of the tree playing hide and seek with the sun. The rainbow bursts of colors through some of my pictures, my reward for catching the sun trying to sneak away from my view. I'm transported back in time. To the crabapple "wars" we used to have. The potions and concoctions we would make of smashed apples and dirt and water. The hours spent climbing the branches and hiding in the leaves from one another. I can almost hear the voices of my childhood friends, yelling to one another over a heated game of kick the can in the alley. I notice the mower has stopped now.
With a fresh perspective I traipse back over to the house across the path of my adulthood. Next to the big crack in the driveway, I now notice mom's peony bushes, bursting with buds about to blossom. I find her in the back yard watering the juicy red gerberas we got her for mother's day. The kids are eating ice cream and hot fudge, dipping their spoons to the bottom of the container to get the last few yummy drops.
I go to put the mower back in the garage now, maneuvering through those same remains of the past. This time I can't help but think, this is also my future. I'll be back one day, I know, cleaning and sorting through it all. My "inheritance" of sorts. I still want to turn a blind eye, not ready to sort through the past, and incapable of looking too far ahead to the future.