frail piece of paper
a long-gone day -
in my hands
I'm scanning old photos this weekend, and came across this very fragile and worn photo of a horse and buggy that I suspect may be from the late 1800's. One can barely make out the wagon wheels, it is so worn. My maternal grandmother's father worked on laying tracks for the first railroad to cross North America. Grandma said as a girl she could still walk along the rutted path the covered wagons had made across the land.
Then my great-grandparents worked a homestead on the Prairie. On the back of this photo is written : "Load of birds to be shipped from homestead." I thought of the person who snapped the photo, of how hard life was in those times, but how simple and good. I thought of how my grandma cut an arresting figure, galloping her horse into town, and stopping with a flourish, catching the eye of the new eligible young bank manager. "Who is that?" he asked, and our family saga began. "I was the first girl in the farm country who rode for pleasure," she would always say, with pride.
I was holding a piece of living history in my hands. It had traveled a very long way to reach me.