when i grew up, we used to visit my grandparents at their farm in northeast new jersey. we called it ‘the farm.’ there were chickens, and sheep, and a big sheepdog named mike o’toole, and for a seven-yr-old, it was heaven on earth.
as with many of the precious memories of youth, over time you grow older, and the sainted sites grow smaller, and there’s less to do, and as my grandparents and uncle got older, things gradually fell apart. the half-dozen small structures slowly collapsed and were devoured by world around them. the animals grew more and more sparse until the barn was deserted. the ‘little house’ where we used to stay was taken over by bees, the pool went stagnant.
visiting as an adult was bittersweet, with my grandfather long since passed away, my grandmother and uncle slowly becoming more infirm, but there was still a magic there, some spark that, no matter how much the details were consumed by time, kept living inside me.
as i started writing words, i was rhyming scenes on a farm to match the folksy chord changes, and it was a while before i recognized the old place. at that point i did a rewrite and placed it more thoroughly in that world, recalling a visit with my wife and the crazy mixture of nostalgia and strangeness. to her, it seemed haunted, and somehow menacing, and to me, it came with a flood of happy memories, back when i was too excited to see the fraying edges.
this is the third in the paul and linda series. i’m finding writing for harmony first, rather than as an embellishment, has been a nice change of pace. more to come.
until next time.