The abode on the lake
Has housed many souls
From my lineage and anew
And survived many fates.
Dad, Earle of the manor,
An only child, his own best friend,
Took to adventures on the sandy beach of Lake Michigan,
His playground for swimming and skating.
Nature can be a foe and muster legends, as
The winter snow almost ate him when
He stumbled into a hole and was buried up to the neck, no siblings for his rescue.
And another boy wearing Dad’s skates fell through the ice.
Our pilgrimages there to see the sages,
Our faces burned by whiskers
After Granddad arrived home from the bank.
He built the house; it was also a Harris.
Our tummies filled with cherry pie
At the little round kid table by the nook.
Grandma Hattie’s apron and her
Kind, dark, deep-set eyes.
Our games and play for hours
On the sandy beach with the sun bearing down
To make blisters so big that
Bandages became our body armor.
Still, Sweet Grandma would hug so hard
The blisters would break open,
Soothed only by time and more cherry pie.
Lessons unlearned as we raced back to the shore.
Years passed with generations gone.
We moved there with Mom, for Dad went away to school.
How she survived is a testament to her resolve
As the Handmaid, the Mother, and the Queen.
This was our adventure, owning the castle.
Seven kids loving mischief,
Feeding Mom’s jewelry down the heating vent, and
Spreading around a bag of flour before the guests arrived.
Once the house almost died
As lightning struck it while Mom was away,
Having trusted the house and nature
To guard the seven treasures.
The house was hungry in the winter
Fed by coal delivered to the creepy bin in the basement.
How the house shook like a mighty beast when fed,
Satiated and ready for slumber.
Once I found Mom by the furnace.
How she looked wed to the fire.
Her eyes were blazing as she stoked the coals
And turned to glare at me. Of course, I ran.
The Lake had receded, so that year,
We only had waves of grass as our shore.
But the garage still had Granddad’s tools as toys,
And we could still smell him there.
This house was Dad’s soul and anchor,
Our refuge on vacations,
Our residence in a life transition.
I still hang my curtains the same way now,
Though I really can’t linger there
As was shown in a dream.
I saw myself as a young girl on the shore,
Dad and his parents inside at the nook.
Follow us, they said, leading me to the water’s edge
Though I feared the water and dared not venture too deep,
I followed and we became as frogs
Twisting with the current and swimming on the lake bottom.
Out we came to new ground
And I was made to walk on hot coals.
How I blazed on this path,
Glistening into my new fine diamond body
Until reborn into the Now.
For the past is but a house of memories
That cannot survive present winds or future travail.
And now the house that once held our souls has new occupants.
Copyright © August 11, 2017 Barbara Harris Leonhard
Image: Our House of Souls, which we had on Lake Michigan in Escanaba, Michigan