For six generations the kids in my family have looked for adventures along Kanaranzi Creek. We’ve got piles of bones from both buffalo and cattle. We’ve got coffee cans full of good luck rocks that have holes in them. We’ve got treasured arrowheads and other artifacts safely hidden away. We’ve helped to convert buckets and bags of wild plums into jelly and jam. And, there are also many generations of the children of friends and neighbors who share similar memories.
However as far as I know, Aunt Harriett is the only child who brought plants up to the domestic house yard from the wilds of the Creek pasture. There are a number of family stories about her escapades as a child. She climbed partway up the windmill and couldn’t get down. She ventured out on the porch roof from her bedroom window because a cat needed rescuing. I once asked her late in her life if she missed the farm when she moved into the city. I had anticipated that we would share reminisces about Nature and youth. Instead she said that she did miss it, but then added: “We were a close family.” That was the apparent explanation for why she missed life on the farm.
For more than a century, Aunt Harriett’s transplanted Creek violets have bloomed every spring. But, that didn’t happen this year. Maybe it’s because of the record rainfalls. Maybe it’s because some animal has dug them out. Or maybe it’s because the house its self has fallen into neglect. After the folks moved to assisted living, we kept heating the house for a year or so. But, then we turned off the water, removed the natural gas tank, and started cleaning out the furniture. Last year, some of the components of the sewer system collapsed and the house obviously needs a paint job. Maybe the violets are just tracking the decline of the family farmhouse.
We still don’t know what will happen to this house that was built by the homesteaders and has been home to four generations. We’ve seriously discussed tearing it down, we’ve joked about converting it to a B and B for writers, we’ve currently used it for storage, and we’ve generally avoided making the final ultimate decision. Maybe that’s why the Creek violets aren’t blooming in the house yard this year. It’s like the final benediction on a situation that’s inescapable. Or maybe, the violets will again bloom still later this spring?