The Sale of Sacred Grounds: 43 Bailey Road

43 bailey

It’s hard to describe your attachment to a geographic location. The emotions that well deep inside, or the sensations that shower your skin, there are authors that can bring those to life in a sentence, but I am not that author. Not yet.

There are a few magical places I know of. One of them is far deep in the field, right after the birch tree thicket.  It’s a circle of spruce trees that create a hollow, a natural room that set the stage for the theatrics of a 10 year old girl. There’s also the giant bolder, to the right of the path that leads into thickness of the forest.

That’s to date, the largest rock I know.

It’s not the house that I’ll miss.

It is not the master bedroom. The room where we all slept, or rather listened to my father snore, while we renovated the top floor. We wore our snowsuits inside that winter.

I will not miss flying across the crooked oak floors, Strawberry Shortcake Streamers catching wind.  Those floors and beams will no longer stand one day, but I don’t need to miss them.  My memories travel with me.

I will not miss the dining room, the birth of place of our favorite hazelnut game. Yes, you read correctly, my parents invented a hazelnut game.  Where if you cracked a hazelnut, and you per chance found two nuts in one shell, the first person to yell PHILIPPINES the next morning, well that person was the happy recipient of one dollar.

I will not miss that table, because I can give that table life by telling its stories.

I will not miss the laundry room where I first heard my father swear. Bullshit he said, while, Cité Rock Détente 102,7 FM streamed endless ballads and formed the soundtrack to our 30 year renovation.

I will not miss the ox blood (the real stuff) stained door, against which my sister and I played Seven Up.

I am surprisingly not sad for my kids, who will not have those fields to roam.  I have given them a river and a mountain instead.

I am not sad for my parents, because they have outlived their time there, they accomplished all that they could. They deserve their new freedom, their proximity to conveniences and an opportunity to care for less belongings.

But I do feel sadness.

I feel sadness for each of those 83 sacred acres.

I will miss the old feed house that I painted green, blue and pink. Where I spent endless hours playing restaurant and served imaginary food to imaginary patrons.

I feel sadness to leave behind the land that enabled a true and deep connection to my father.

I feel sadness to leave behind the stones we lifted, the wood we stacked, and the moss we harvested. In those fields,  I was offered honest and hard work, the kind that allows you to dive deep in the gap between your thoughts and your self. It gave me apple trees to climb and lethal limb cutting spider webs to avoid.

I learned from that land that it was only within the secrecy of the trees that I was free from my shame. It was between the blades of sweet grass that I shed my inadequacies.

Maybe that sacred beauty will never been seen again. Maybe the fox den will go unnoticed. Maybe the berries will go to waste and never fill the row of tiny jars.

I’m sad to think that my feed house might never serve another meal.

But in the end, it’s not mine to mourn.  The land was there before us and it will live beyond us. And that house, that white house with the blue roof on the corner of Bailey and Spicer, it still has generations of memories to create.

43 bailey 4

And maybe one day, that sacred land will witness something great. As for me, I will keep the memory of 43 Bailey Road afire within me as I harvest, and collect and grow and create, using all the skills I learned in that circle of Spruce trees.


8 thoughts on “The Sale of Sacred Grounds: 43 Bailey Road

  1. Thank you for sharing…beautiful.

    You made me cry (one of my favourite emotions)

    Big Hug

  2. Oh how beautifully written. My parents are just now beginning to discuss if they should sell the farm I grew up on, so these words really resonate with me. Part of me is devastated that I won’t be able to visit every well known inch of that 40 acres and part of me is excited for maybe a new little family to build a lifetime of dreams and memories there too. ❤️

    1. Oh those early conversations are the hardest! That’s when I did most of my mourning! Watching then navigate the excitement and then disappointment of each visit with no offer, that has been heartbreaking to watch.
      I’m totally happy that my experience can help you through a transition that can be so emotional!

  3. How am I only subscribed to this now?! I guess I have my lack of a computer to blame. Such a good read!!!

    One of my favourite memories of all time (as in: my entire life) is rounding up chickens with your dad near this house for the night. I will never forget chasing the chickens with him. Laughing so hard I was almost unable to walk as your dad cooed to the chickens (while armed with a 2 x 4), “alors les filles, on rentre…”

    Other memories include: passing out on the couch in front of the fire after a day of riding, eating chocolate fondue until my stomach hurt, listening to U2’s “All I want is you” on repeat for hours while we laid around upstairs thinking about guys we had crushes on, and being given my one jar of wild raspberry jam at the start of dinner (eyes so wide) and being told “Jessica, this is all you get. This is yours…”

    It’s hard to put it all into words, but you have done just that and I love you for it!

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