We live on a farm that was Cherokee land. The remains of a burial ground lie as silent testimony to an earlier time. On the farm next to us sits the house of Chief James Brown. The owner of that property has tried unsuccessfully to get it listed as an historical site. When we hike on our land, I feel a connection to the Cherokee, to the sacredness of where my feet tread. That connection feels most powerful when we walk by the creek that meanders along the property line
A large log has fallen across that creek at the site where there was once a bridge. My husband tells me that at one time the school teacher for the local children lived across the creek and in 1917 the community built a bridge to enable him to easily walk to the school. There are so many associations here to the past, both to that of my husband, who grew up on this farm, and to the many people who preceded his family.
At one time much of the land in this area belonged to one relative or another of my husband’s family. Once I was buying a mattress and the salesman noted our address. He said that he lived in “Georgetown Landing,” a subdivision on our road. I replied that had once been my husband’s grandfather’s farm. I was startled by his immediate apology! He said his company had transferred him and he had had to make a decision quickly about housing. I was touched by his concern that the subdivision might represent a loss to me. However, I am aware of more than one dispute between parents and adult children on this road over land being sold for subdivisions.
In a sense, I myself grew up on a “farm,” though it was a new subdivision when my family moved there when I was eight. It never occurred to me that it had been a farm, though our backyard adjoined a large farm. I remember my mother would give me sugar cubes and apples to feed the horse that would come to the fence looking for a treat. Years later I drove to that former neighborhood. The farm that I had grown up next to had become filled with homes.
So we cross bridges from one era to another. Always there are those who have gone before us, to whom we owe so much. As the old proverb goes, “We drink from wells we did not dig and are warmed by fires that we did not build.”
May we be bearers of hope, the “wait staff” of Hope’s Café for each other and all those we encounter. Shalom, Kate
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