Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Changed Landscape

The changing landscape. Old farm houses replaced by new. Thick woods are thinned and houses now tucked away in them. Towns spread, new streets added. Old stores become new businesses with coffee shops replacing department stores. Schools are bulldozed while new, larger schools rise up from the ground. Nothing ever stays the same.

I know when I return to Ohio, the landscape will have a few differences from the last time I was there. It will make me a little sad to see some of the changes for my memories lie in those places that are no more or that have morphed into something else. I have been away.

My daughter-in-law is excited to see the house back the lane on Neff Road. She wants to see where the memories took place. To be able to share in those places that hold my son's memories of his childhood visits to the farm. My son will not go back to the house again. My sisters feel the same. Even though it is very difficult for me to return to that porch, the yard, I cannot imagine never going back to the place that raised me. The changes make it easier for me. It is no longer the Loxley farm. It now has horses and buggies in a new barn. Children now play where the children before are grown and moved away.

Changes are inevitable. They represent an area still alive with new families moving in. They represent growth in a community. They represent keeping up with the trends and times.

I, too, have morphed into someone different. My return is not to recapture a past, but to embrace the now of Neff Road. The little girl who once played in the barn now is a grandma who has spent most of her life in Oregon. I found that in this journey forward from my youth, I have once again found my past.

In twenty-nine days I will be back in Darke County. I'm excited to see the changes in Greenville. I will go to the wedding of the daughter of my best friend. I plan on a few coffees with old friends at Smith's in Arcanum. Many of my classmates will meet up at a friend's house to catch up on the decades past and laugh at the memories of kids who shared those years at Franklin Monroe. Wonderful time will be spent with my family there. I will go to the Brethren Home and hug every one of those people I love.

Things never stay the same. For those of us who move away, we notice those changes. Perhaps those changes make the memories that much richer. I go, a changed woman, to embrace my roots once more.

I will be home again.

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