I was reminded again this week of the necessity of seizing the moment because you never know when a situation will change and the moment will be gone forever. My example was not monumental – it was an old farmhouse that stood as a sentry near the end of the road I grew up on. Over the last few years I have sadly observed the house, empty and deteriorating, and told myself I should take some pictures of it before it is gone. The other day as I came down the hill and around the turn, I saw it was reduced to a pile of rubble with the excavator still sitting beside it.
The house had reminded me of a grand matron who held her court close to the edge of the road, keeping watch over the goings-on of the community. And rightly so, as much as the land that now houses the families once belonged to this farm. I’m not entirely sure when the house was built, but I believe it was in the mid 1800’s. A few years back, my town put together the history of the surrounding area and through it I was able to discover more of its story: The land was originally part of another farm on the other side of the river, but upon the marriage of their daughter, they gave this portion to the newly-wed couple. Then in 1882 the provincial government rented their farm for a project to establish better breeds of livestock and for it to be a sort of model farm that others could adopt modern methods of farming. Many upgrades took place, and people travelled from the surrounding counties to visit. This only continued a few years, as politics got in the way and a different farm was chosen to continue this project. The family continued on as before, but it always seemed a bit grander than the other farms in the area in my eyes.
Over the years it had been a wonderfully constant landmark amidst new houses being built, families moving, and changes in my own life. Turning on the old road and seeing the stately white structure had served as a marker that I was almost home, no matter what point I was at in life. These last few years, though, was like watching the slow death of a loved one. Bit by bit she was growing more decrepit, and as the exterior failed to keep out the weather you could imagine the impact it was having on the inner structure. It was sad to watch her slide into ill health, unloved and forgotten. When I saw her finally fallen there was some relief mixed with that sadness, the kind experienced when someone who has been suffering long, suffers no more.
Lesson of the story: make the most of today. Don’t put something off because you’re too busy – there will always be dishes to wash, laundry to fold, food to cook. Live in the moment and make memories, they will stay with you longer than the floor staying clean. Don’t procrastinate thinking it will be always be there – everything has its season and will someday pass away. Enjoy the present, have respect for the past, and invest in the future.
What is left of a swing still hangs from the large maple in the yard