It’s a tired old mountain surrounding us, a tired old man with bristly pine whiskers, who lay down on his side in rumpled clothes—lay down to sleep soundly, sinking deeper into the rocky Canadian Shield, a Rip Van slumber.
The flat valley below is laid out like crazy quilt blocks of lavender-touched green alfalfa and glistening grains, waving in breezes, Holstein Friesians dotting the landscape like fine stitches.
The long dirt lane leads nowhere and everywhere, but always home. Home—a century-old, red brick, tin-roofed house that shelters six girls, one slightly spoiled boy, and an inventor-farmer who cherishes his Dorothy.
The doors are left unlocked to strangers, kids, and sometimes cats, and the phone rings a long and a short on the party line. Flapping laundry stretches pole to pole in front of the new garage, awaiting desecration by a dirty combine, followed by sincerest apologies.
There’s a garden to weed and eggs to gather. There are cooped up chickens and free-range kids, and enough music and laughter to fill all the drafty spaces. There are Aurora Borealis and cumulus marathons and a scaredy cat dog hiding under the bed with me while drenching thunderstorms stomp round the mountain in huge army boots.
The deep gouge of a river borders the land where we run by rocky shores, weaving in and out of birches and alders, chasing pirates and wily siblings. The rusting railroad tracks alongside, overgrown with wild mustard and Scottish thistle, lead nowhere and everywhere.
There are trees to climb, fields to wander, roofs to conquer, and a dusty, dream-sized attic where thoughts are woven into the woof and warp of imagination.