The car comes sharply around the curve in the driveway and the gravel is rough and loud under the wheels but usually the excited shouts of we are at the farm overpower anything else. Flowers on sides, tall grasses, hostas, blooming trees and mud mingle floating their own scent into the wind around my hair. The green hills are reflective and shiny; grasses wave in the spring breeze tilting sunlight back toward the clouds. The hills rise up in the familiar shape with the blanket only changing colors with the seasons. Deep muddy ruts are home to tadpoles whipping their tails back and forth furitively trying to swim away from the vibration of our footsteps. Blackbirds chat on bending cattails surrounding the pond never happy to be still in the breeze but always on the move. Chipmunks busy under the hosta storing grass seeds in their cheeks ready to run, tail up, around the tall pines. Dogwood trees with their faint bruised blooms on trees with mostly leaves sway with trunks steady and branches bobbing. The sweet smell of honeysuckle like night blooming jasmine intensifies when the sun is warmest and you can only smell it if you stand in one spot in the driveway.
Each year now some structure of the farm is torn down or rearranged. The smoke house is gone and only the cinderblocks laid by hand so many years ago stand in a stack ready to be reused for some other purpose not designed by Dick. Fingers bent sideways with rheumatism, that long scar on his arm from that nasty pig, skin marked with cancerous lesions from too many years in the sun-all the price a farmer pays for his hard life living from the living land.
Bent with loneliness and heartache for the partner with whom he shared everything he can remember -he tends to his greenhouse, his tomato plants and flowers in the early hours of the morning before the sun is too hot and bright. Up early in the dark the day is longer without his wife and he misses her wishing for her return even sick, even without hunger or thirst, with diapers and that hospital bed.
Forgetful, self doubting, unsure of his place as anyone would be if their world had been shaken out, dumped upon the ground and swept up put away left standing on the land that is being pulled out from underneath him a bit more everyday. The corner was turned and the descent has begun.