It's been on my mind for several days - maybe even a week. I have thought about it on several occasions and each time felt a little forlorn. Yesterday, I owned up to the fact that, as silly as it sounds, I've missed my slamming screen door.
After a long, cold winter and in the midst of this cool (sometimes snowy) spring, I haven't had the urge to spend a lot of time outside. Well, I've had the urge lots of times - I just haven't had the desire to go out when it's cold or windy, and it's been a lot of both. Since I haven't been spending time outside, I haven't been seeing much of my beloved old screen door.
See, for the regular day-to-day errands: kids to and from school, feeding the horses, grocery trips, doctor's visits, etc., I use the front door. It's during the late spring and summer when I'm off to the garden, out watering the grapes, carrying food scraps down to the chickens and pigs, or bumping the door open to lug a basket of wet laundry out to the clothesline that I use the screen door off the mud room. I haven't been engaged in any of those activities for some time, so I've been logging my comings and goings through the boring old front door.
Yesterday, I decided enough was enough. I went out the front door, around the corner of the house and walked up to the screen door, plucked it far away from the side of the house and let it slam. Three times I did it. I had just missed that clattering old sound, which was truthfully one of the things that made me fall in love with this place. This dilapidated, rundown, old, mish-mash place that has a spirit about it that we can't define, but makes it feel like home to Mike and me. It feels as if there was much of love and kindness in this house over the years, and the remnants of those gentle emotions are embedded in the adobe walls, the old kitchen cabinets, and in the crooked door frames and sloping floors. Talking to people who knew the couple who lived and died here confirms that was the case; I hear from one and all that these were good people, "salt of the earth" people who, without exception are spoken of with fondness every time we say, "We bought the old Heward place, do you know it? Right across from Drew Shumway's big red barn?" Never mind that the Hewards have been gone for some time, and sadly, Drew's gone now, too. People around here have been here all or most of their lives, and they remember.
So, yesterday, I let the screen door slam. Tanner walked up as I did it and asked what I was doing. Somewhat sheepishly, and without explanation, I said, "I just wanted to hear it slam." He smiled this warm, accepting little half smile then shook his head and said, "I love you, Mama," and went on his way.
After he left, I looked at the door a little disappointed. I noticed that it hadn't just snapped shut with a loud bang like I love, but instead took a little coaxing from me to get the clatter right. Its somewhat weak slam felt a little like a metaphor for me this spring. There are plenty of things that are needed and expected of me, but it's taking a little coaxing to get it all done. I want to roll up my sleeves and dig in with determination to tackle it all, but I've felt a little beleaguered and I'm not quite sure why.
I am quite sure, however, that Mike can do something to the hinges to get my old screen door to snap shut with that satisfying slam I love. In the mean time, I'm looking around for the right oil can or wrench to get my hinges working right, too. I'm sure both the door and I will be back in fine form in no time, ready for the myriad warm weather chores that take me out our slamming screen door.
Love from the farm,