My parents moved shortly after I got married. They moved to a "nice" house in a different part of town. I love the new house. It is nice and elegant and shows off the decorating skills of my mom. My kids have never known the "old" house.
I went up to my parents new house today. I was delivering some stuff to them, but they weren't home. I just left it on the porch. I asked my boys what they wanted to do. It seemed so silly to drive 45 minutes to my parents, and then just leave. So we went on a tour of my old neighborhood. I drove my boys past my old high school. Harry was so impressed at how big it was, then by the old elementary school. Harry again was impressed that I had actually gone to an elementary school. We turned up the road; the familiar path, headed for my old home. It was almost surreal. I hadn't been back for several years. Tree's really do grow, people who you thought had it all, really don't. We kept on until we were there. A small little house with this huge park-like back yard. You can't see the yard from the street, because of the fence my dad built for my wedding reception, but I can see it in my mind.
I tried to tell Harry about what it looked like inside, my bedroom, the fireplace, but I couldn't explain it. I didn't know if I should explain it how it really was, or how I wanted to remember it? My brain couldn't find the words. This was my refuge from the world during those angst filled teenage years. This house had held a lot of secrets. Some good, and some not-so-good. But it was still home.
I was sad when I looked at it. The yard has fallen into a mess, the fence is looking old and dull, there were cars parked everywhere, and they didn't look like they were go-able.
I looped around so we could look at it again, but Harry and Chilly seemed to find this boring, so I drove on. Heart heavy and wishing I hadn't ever driven by. Things change, it was just house, right?
So I turn the car up the hill, past the houses getting bigger and bigger. Harry is wondering if our amazing mini-van will make it. I assure him it will, and won't he be surprised when we get there. Where?? I kept going, passed the gates that usually were closed to the public. It is now a gated community. I ignore the "no trespassing sign" and keep on going. I tell Harry about 3 wheeling here, where there used to be no houses. Now that is all there is. Million dollar houses. I keep going up, and soon we hit a turn in the road where Harry and chilly look out the window and see the whole valley.
"WOW! Mom look, you can see the whole world."
But I am sad. I am devastated actually, for the reason I know this road is because there used to be a trailhead, informal at that, that used to be my favorite hiking place. Gone. It has been replaced by a house. A gaudy, grotesque, flamboyant, mansion of a house.
I had planned to take my boys hiking at this place. It connected to a river bed that would run dry about the time school got out. We would follow it up the canyon, scale a few mountains, and come to one of the most quiet and peaceful places in the whole world. There was an old mine, and an incredible view. The mine was a natural tourist attraction for us, as we were curious about it's history. We invented crazy theories of why it was unused. We could see an old mining cart that was almost completely rusted away. Waterfalls and porcupines, poison ivy and mountain springs, and the most incredible natural water slide! This is where I fell in love with nature. I imagine myself sitting at this camp with my dear friend, breathing fresh air, and feeling the love that God created this for us. How can this be gone? It is almost as if someone has torn out my heart as I look at this house. Did they know what they were obscuring? Did they care?
I try to explain this to Harry, but all he wants to do it get out of our amazing mini-van, and play in the snow. The road is so high that there is snow everywhere. Fresh snow. So I turn around and head home. Harry tells me that it isn't fair that people build houses like that. I told him it didn't seem fair to me either. He asks me why we don't have lots of money to do that. I tell him that even if I had a lot of money, I would never build a house like that, in that place.
It is funny, I was genuinely sad to see my old home, to see how it looked now, but to see a huge monstrosity on my old trailhead, hurt me much more. On the way home, the weather seemed to match my mood, rainy and cold.