Obviously, this is not a picture of me, but I feel as if it captures my spirit. It is a picture of my niece, Tori, and my pug, Alfie, prancing across the plot of land my family calls "The Secret Spot." It is my land, 10 acres, where one day I hope to build my house. But before it became mine legally, it belonged to my grandparents, part of the acreage that accompanied the one-room schoolhouse that they grew into a camp and in turn, a home.
They purchased the schoolhouse in Bethel, Vt. back when my mom was young and they would travel up from Long Island to visit there. The Secret Spot became her spot, the place where she would run to be alone, pray, write songs. Secluded, it hid from the road, an open meadow dwarfed by sentinel-like trees.
After I was born and I heard the family stories, I somehow adopted my mother's Secret Spot as my own. My grandfather, BZ, would take us grandchildren for walks there in the evening with kerosene lamps and we would catch fireflies in a jar. Like my mother, I would go there to cry and dream and I dreamed of a day when I could call this land home.
When my grandfather died and my grandmother decided to sell the schoolhouse, I claimed this land as mine. She subdivided giving me my plot and selling the schoolhouse to my brother. I plan one day to live here. When I first adopted Vader, I was sure he and Buffy would make their home here with me. It didn't happen in their lifetime. Buffy, Vader and Mira passed, but Alfie is here now roaming the field with Tori and the ghost of the child I was and the dreams of the future that remain. One doesn't need a house to call a place home.