I lived on a rural acreage as a boy, one with plenty of room to explore and let the imagination run wild. One of the places I played on this property was at the site of an old homestead. We didn’t have much information on the house other than the small clues we discovered by visual examination of relics and artifacts left over from the previous landowner. All that was left of the home as I remember was the outline of its stone and concrete foundation. It was a very small dwelling. There were old Mason jars still intact and usable. I recall finding a rusty old bucket with lots and lots of nails. A few paces away on the side of the slope was an old root cellar. The boy in me wished it hadn’t caved in over the years of weather. It looked to be a perfect fort for the imaginary headquarters needed to defend the area from the imaginary bad guys that lurked in the shadows.
However, the most fascinating aspect of the old homestead was not these discovered pieces. Instead, it was a more dynamic, enduring find. Scattered around the perimeter was a planting of daffodils and iris. These flowers would bloom at this time every year and I loved hiking up the hill to pick the blossoming stems for my mom. She would put them in a jar of water and display them as if they were the finest red roses.
About ten years ago I was back home visiting and decided to go see the old homestead for nostalgia’s sake. To my delight, the clumps were in bloom and fragrant as ever. It was one of those transportive moments that only aroma can trigger. I was eight years old again. I quickly returned to the house, grabbed a shovel and a 5 gallon bucket and dug a portion of the buried treasure to take back to Nebraska. I planted them around my yard as a keepsake to remind me, not only of my childhood days, but also of the days of the settlers and the hands that planted them however many years ago. I’m sure the times were hard, but I like to think the bulbs were planted for the same reason.
We don’t want to forget our story.
Here they are, just as they grew under those hackberry trees, just as grand as ever. I wonder what will become of them after I depart? Will the new owner find them to be valuable or dig them up to make way for something new?
That’s not my decision to make. I can only manage the time that has been given me today. Which begs the question; what will I do with that time? Time is like money; it can be wasted, spent or invested. I must choose wisely.
Also like money, I don’t get that time back.