It was one year ago today we found Bittersweet Farm. We came across it while looking at another property. When I first saw it I cried out in surprise; “Look it’s a John Sloane house.”
The place remained me of the country houses painted by John Sloane, a favorite artist. Every year I would buy the John Sloane calendar. Every month I would stand quietly before it and turn the page on a new month and imagine I was standing in the picture or sitting on the porch or warm within reading by a glowing light.
We immediately recognized the smiling providence of God that afternoon. It was the first of October nearing the golden hour in the late afternoon. The sky was clear and shirt-sleeve comfortable. We walked though the house and around the property and before we left we had a agreement to buy the place. The owner, Charles Perlos, took the house off the market until we could sell Granville Cottage back in Riverview.
By mid-January Granville Cottage sold and that afternoon Bittersweet Farm was ours.
This afternoon I took a little drive in George the Red Jeep with the windows down, slow along a remote road a few miles east of here. I separated a doe from her fawn. The fawn ran along in the woods parallel my Jeep until he could return to his mother.
Tonight I found more bittersweet growing in the fencerow that runs along the Spring Arbor-Summit Township line that is the western border of our property. Geese passed overhead in a perfect wedge formation. Crows called put over the corn. Walnuts thumped to the ground. Leaves danced along the ground ahead of the wind.
I got out my little John Deer and mowed, breathing in the fragrance of new-cut grass. You think when you mow. Tonight I thought about how many more times I will need to mow, when the leaves will come down, and when I should perform my annual maintenance and attach the snow plow. The experienced guys in the church will know. I will ask them.
Mowing I watched the house. A little light shown from within. I was waiting for Hope to step out on the porch and call me in for supper. Lois was making one of our favorites tonight. I finished the lawn, put away the tractor and came into the house. Supper was ready. The house smelled like apples and cinnamon.
Bittersweet Farm hasn’t been good for my writing but it has been good for my soul. I don’t want to come inside until a half-hour after dark and then I’m tired and my thinking isn’t crisp so I put my writing aside—but my soul is glad and my body is tired. I crawl into our high bed. It sits between the south-facing windows in our upstairs bedroom. When the moon is shining the light falls into the room on either side of the bed. Some nights I put my arm around Lois. She rests her head on my chest. We lie together in quiet security and humble thankfulness and we pray for the children and we thank God for Bethel and for Bittersweet Farm.
Summit Township, Michigan
October 1, 2018