Friday, November 14, 2008

Off The Grid

For some reason I want to type the words, "The old man and the sea" but, just isn't so. It's more like, the old man and the earth. All the bushes around this house? Blueberry bushes. Then grapevines. And some fig (a dozen or more?) trees. Oh, and let's not forget the apple, pear, and so on. There's some grafting of different fruits on one tree going on here too but I forget what/how.
This house, he told us, was out in the woods somewhere, and moved to this location. He's owned it and the land aound it for oh...about 35+ years.

I can't tell how old he is. At first glance, if he were in any other setting, he looks like a homeless man. But it isn't so. He's far from homeless. He's rich, if anything. Maybe not in the sense of gold bars, or stocks and bonds, or even cash in a checking account. But, I'm reminded daily, to never judge a book by it's cover. Wealth, by any name, can mean a myriad of things.

I wondered who he was, and where he was from the first time I saw him. He doesn't drive a pick-up. Or a car. He rides a bike.

As an aside, this tree is a Holly tree (bush?). It's the largest Holly tree-bush I've EVER seen. He said it's been there since he was a kid.

Yes. I said he rides a bike.

And to church every Sunday too, and near as I can tell, rain or shine.

In an effort to keep his identity somewhat safe (since when is anyone's identity 'safe'?) I'll call,.... Mr. P.

I've only talked to him a handful of times, and I've always gotten the feeling he's a bit shy which could also be construed for anti-social, or the unlikely 'snobbish'.

But that's not the case either.
I must admit, as we stood there talking with this man, my eyes drifted to the shirt, which not altogether too terribly tattered, was missing a button or two. His jeans looked like they could use a good wash and his sock feet in loafers that were nearly too big looked second or even third hand. I almost started to feel sorry for this man, and then I realized, that his wealth could not be measured. Then, I started to feel sorry for myself. Not in the traditional way of "poor me" but in the way that I began to recollect the waste that I've allowed or the missed opportunities to connect with someone in a non-tangible way.

It seems also that there are not many words necessary with these photos. But then, you might start to wonder if it was really ME posting this. As opposed to someone less wordy. So I have to just prove to you by these here unnecessary words that my identiy is safe. For now.

This is his parents' house. I suspect they're long gone, but he and his brother seem to be the caretakers. And, incidentally, where this gentleman farmer keeps his blueberry harvest. How do I know this? Ah, because he has given us blueberries, not once, but twice now.

I learned, and since forgotten most of them, a good many things that day. Mostly I was struck by his vocabulary and the knowledge he has about the land, and trees, and the mafia. Did I say that out loud? Oh, well, he read some books - and was telling us about the basic story line. What got him started was a hat that a friend of mine was wearing. It says "GodtheFather" in letters akin to "Godfather", and that's all we needed for a conversation starter. But enough about that.
Mostly what I learned is that this man needs nothing. His contentment is virtually tangible. It was an honor to spend time with him.

And THIS, my faithful readers, if you're still with me, is Mr. P.'s GRANDPARENTS home.
Is this or is it not, magnificent?!?!?! I mean, WOW! Original. Unpainted. HUGE. I know I'm not supposed to covet anything, (please forgive me Lord) but......this house, is incredible. And empty. But not for sale. Most likely it will fall into the proverbial black hole which is commonplace around here.
Old "homeplaces" don't get sold. They get passed down, but see, our (or at least my) generation is on to bigger and better things. New tract homes. New BMW 530i's. New shoes. And Rolex's. Hence, since this is 'just an old pile of board and beams' it sits. Alone. Unused. And severely underappreciated.
I saw something poignant a few months ago and I wrote it down. (yes, I know - unusual anti-fieldmouse behavior) it says; A house is built with board and beam, and a home is built on love and dreams.
Home Sweet Home.
p.s. it's really making me mad that I can't figure out how to align my text without it sliding unreadably down the right side of the photographs. Grrrrrr.

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