I stand on my new porch and through the leaf-barren trees and down the hill I spy a river. Across the river, I spy the ground where my great-grandfather’s house once stood. I spy my father stopping by his front porch every day when he walked home from school for a snack or a hug from my great-grandmother. I spy her waiting for him wearing her big apron, wiping her hands, telling everyone, “Whatever he did wrong, he didn’t go to do it.”
From my new front porch, I spy the one-room schoolhouse on the river where my grandmother taught. I spy her ringing the old bell, calling her students inside, loading the woodstove to keep them all warm. I spy the house over the next hill she built with her own money after my grandfather died. I spy the little cemetery where he’s buried. I spy my father coming back from the war to see my great-grandfather one last time. I spy my great-aunts and great-uncles and innumerable cousins who lived and loved here once upon a time.
And sometimes I stand on this new porch and I think they spy me. 🙂