We’re moving on. I sit at the dining table next to a large window and feel into the space, the house and land, with gratitude. Outside is a square patch of colourful gazanias, their petals partially closed to protect them from the rain. Two large pine trees in the front yard provide shelter for the possums. And along the driveway is a hedge of conifers.
Once again, we’re counting down the weeks and days before we relocate. It was always going to be a temporary situation, though, we weren’t aware of the owner’s plans until a few days after we’d signed the lease.
It’s an old community. Daily happenings have become predictable. Monday nights, a choir gathers next door. Many a senior walks by regularly to buy the daily newspaper from the corner store at the end of the street. Young mum’s push strollers, and people walk their dogs. In the summer months Friday night appears to be fish ‘n’ chips or pizza night, as families walk to collect their order.
At the front of the property are two wooden beams that make a fence. A row of red geraniums poke their flower heads through the slats, inviting little tackers to stop and pick one or two.
Today the wind blows, leaves quiver, and I feel grateful to be indoors. The house is old, though it’s been a safe haven for my sons, and me since my return from Canada. Although cold air seeps in around the door and window seals, and the plumbing shudders and shakes, it’s sturdy and well-built and has served us well.
The backyard is a vista of green, lush grass, patches of weeds, dotted with dandelions. An old Hills hoist sits in the middle of the yard and reminds me of my childhood, when I’d swing like a monkey from its steel frame. In Australian suburban tradition the backyard wouldn’t be complete without a lemon tree. Its ancient roots protrude above the earth, and its fruit is prolific with green and ripe lemons, unsure of what season we’re in.
Neighbours tell me there was once a magnificent vegetable garden that adorned the backyard too. The elderly owner was a man well-known for sharing his produce with all the neighbours. In the harvest month, we were fortunate to pick a solitary zucchini from a self-sown plant.
It’s a big block of land, and like a precious jewel, they’re becoming rare. Soon, the house and trees will be demolished as developers move in and replace the old with the new.
Maybe I’m being too sentimental and sensitive to my surrounds. Though, energy is present wherever we are and it feels good to sit in the gratitude. I say a silent prayer of thanks for the shade and fruit the trees provided, and for the roof over our heads. And as the gentrification process takes over, I send my blessings to the elderly folk in the neighborhood. Like us, they too will eventually move on.
Have you ever lived in a house that was earmarked for demolition? How did you feel about it? Do you live in an older community?
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Leanda Michelle ♥