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Consider this quote from Abe Lincoln

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."



I don’t know that I’d really noticed it much, and in the last few weeks I must have walked past that empty lot about three dozen times.

It sits there just watching time go by. A nondescript empty lot on the edge of town. The small grove of trees, mostly scrub brush and saplings tangled within the thickets and mass of weeds behind the fence row. It wasn’t until my walk last night that I noticed along the bottom of the fence a very straight concrete edge about a foot and a half tall that runs the length of the lot.

Smack in the middle is a concrete post with an old Ma Bell metal sign attached to it, noting the burial of an underground phone line. I’d never noticed this lot before, in fact I don’t know that I would have most days.

I stood there on the side of the road for a minute and then walked up to the fence row and put my hands out and laying my arms over the top row of barbed wire as we grown up farm kids are known to do anytime we are surveying anything across a fence.

If I looked closely I could see a set of stairs and what looked to be a small basement. A few odds and ends metal pieces and what may have been an old root cellar at one time, but could also just been a pile of dirt. I stood there for a long while looking and wondering about this place.

What had been here? Who had been here? What stories does this empty place hold? I watched as a squirrel wandered along in the fallen leaves collecting a few walnuts and scampered over to perch on top of a rotted stump and take a break, its eyes looking back at me perhaps more startled that I had taken the time to stand there more than anything else.

I closed my eyes and felt the cool breeze on my face and listened to it rush through the trees as the branches rubbed together. I wondered if there was some answer to this place, maybe the end of someone’s dreams and hopes? Obviously someone had cared enough to have put up the little concrete edge some time ago, and certainly must have been proud of this little lot. But what must have happened? Was it a fire? Did the building on it house a family? Did they simply go away or has this place just been forgotten by time.

I turned quietly and started walking again as I worked over in my mind the place I had visited. Perhaps that is another of life’s answers that we don’t learn until we get older and notice them. This place reverting back to the land, the days and months passing as time reclaims itself and a time long ago slowly fades into history until there is nothing left but some long forgotten memories tucked away somewhere.

I wondered as I made it back home if there was someone who looked on that little spot of ground the same way I do when I go back to the farm fields of my youth. Someone who remembers the little house there, the tree that they used to climb, the gate at that front sidewalk, the day that that concrete edge was put in. And maybe each time they return to stop by and take a look just as I do, they know that ground, each ditch, waterway and fence line holding a memory of what was. And perhaps with the passage of time, the memories will grow dim, and the places in our memories will change and someone will pass by on an evening walk, with the fall sun fading slowly through the trees and wonder about them, just as I have done this day.

See you next week. Remember, we’re all in this together.