October 31st, 2010

Watching the fences fall

When we lived in our old house, we spent years turning it into our own.

Year by year, we added and adapted. The open backyard gained a white picket fence. The far yard gained a beautiful raised bed garden. A herb garden was planted. Quartz was dug up and re-appropriated as landscaping border. Perennials were planted. A fire pit slab was built out of slate.

Over time, we had everything perfected. This, ultimately, helped in selling our house. The yard work was already finished. All someone had to do is keep up with the plants and mow the lawn.

If only that were the case.

We drive by our old house on occasion. Over the past year and a half we have seen it regress.

First, the raised bed garden was torn out. Then, the garden bed was covered with sod. Soon, the quartz edging was taken out. After the summer, we noticed that the perennials had disappeared and the herb garden had been stripped away.

We were effectively watching our legacy in that home taken out, piece by piece, like burning copies of an author’s manuscript. The time and work and sweat and money we put into making the house beautiful was being disregarded, the current owners not privy to what emotional connections we still had to that garden, that border, those plants.

But what can I expect?

When we hand things over, we hand them over with the understanding that, in fact, it is no longer ours. That’s the deal. That’s what selling the house means. We built it up to pass it on, selling our dreams and selling out those gardens. In return, we were able to move to a new home, one that was filled with another previous owner’s dreams and ambitions – dreams and ambitions we too reverse and tear down and disregard.

That yard is no longer our yard. It never will be again. And we were the ones who made it that way.

So, as we drove by today and saw that the white picket fence – the first act of business when we moved in and the most lasting and recognizable piece of our involvement with that house – was being torn down, I had to bite back scorn.

It’s out of our hands. And we’re all healthier when we recognize that point.

Category: Home, On..., Vilhauer


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