One of my favorite artifacts on our farm is this old and worn upping stone in the meadow.
I would have thought it was just a cool rock, but I have access to this farm’s secrets because my dad grew up here. I know that was an upping stone and that’s how the ladies got up on their horses.
I know that this odd, overgrown shelf near the upping stone in our meadow is the foundation of the small, white country church where my great-grandparents, grandparents, and my father attended services.
It also functioned as a one-room schoolhouse during the week until they built the new schoolhouse across the river.
I know that this pool was called the Indian princess bath because it was separated from the river’s main path by this line of rocks.
I know that our farm was once lined with wooden sidewalks and cottages for the families of the men who worked in the gasoline plant.
I know that the crumbling foundation of that plant hides here in the wild woods.
I know that this deserted rock-dirt road in the hills, thick with trees, was once framed by clear farmland.
I like to know all these forgotten little things.
They are like curious little secrets and I am their keeper. I tell them to my children so that they can be keepers, too.
Is that why I’m here? I like to think the twists and turns of life make sense, that there is purpose somewhere inside its complex mystery.
Even if, maybe, that purpose is a secret from me.