This is my favorite old farmhouse. I always stop and take its picture as I travel west on the road that goes through Valentine, Nebraska. Standing on the edge of this lonely place, imagining the lives once lived there, it's easy, from a distance, to romanticize what I see, but I know life in such circumstances can often be very difficult. Seen in the middle of winter, it comes close to defining desolation. In my heart, this is what I see:
warm summer nights, with a multitude of crickets singing in the dark, reminding the childless couple inside that they are not alone. In the fall, jars are sealed and placed in the pantry: green beans, sweet corn, peas and pickles, to be opened when the root cellar is almost empty with summer still a long way off. On winter evenings, they read Emerson by lamplight as an aria from La Traviata sails around and around on the green felt of the aging Victrola. On certain nights, after the house has fallen quiet, she walks outside and watches as each star takes its place across the vast night sky. And every spring, when it feels like the wind might never stop blowing, it's then she looks out at the endless rolling hills and remembers the ocean.
What it looks like in winter and a song by Patsy: teresaevangeline.blogspot.com/2012/01/next-of-kin-to-wayward-wind.html
And the road that leads you there: