Rod left to get a plumbing part. I find myself alone for the very first time at Bloomfield. I honestly thought it would feel spooky. Or I’d feel nervous. But it just felt so natural, so easy to be there. I just kept sweeping and scrubbing. I kept talking to ‘her’ as if I were cleaning a tiny child’s boo boo after their first fall off a bike. “Don’t worry sweetie. It’s all going to be okay”. Yup – you know it… I was talking to Bloomfield out loud. Not an ounce of “you’re so weird Kim” went through me. It was so natural to be talking to ‘her’. Ok… side note: so I just realized that every time we walk through her front door for the first time each day, I say “Hello sweetheart! It’s Kim. We’re here!!” And my husband, who isn’t juju-ie at all has never said a word when I do this with him. Like he feels comfortable naturally announcing our arrival too. That says a lot.
So, there’s a door to the basement where the summer kitchen is. I have to be honest – The door and the stairs actually make me sad. They are dark wood. You need to stoop to go thru the door that leads to this set of steps (under the steps above). From the landing you can see the dirt floor below. The steps are a rough wood. Cobwebs are everywhere. The smooth white plaster walls of the hallway instantly turn into a rough muddy blackish grey just past the door leading down the stairs. Leaving the grand foyer above and passing through this little door to the basement feels almost like a scene from a Disney movie … the part of the movie where the princess is happily dancing among the flowers in the woods talking to the animals when suddenly the skies darken, the wind picks up, the animals scatter as the leaves are ripped from the branches and she’s suddenly there alone, freezing and terrified. Okay… not that bad. hahaha. So Dramatic Kim! (Love tangents).
So, I’m cleaning near the door and I suddenly say out loud “you’re going to be okay. I’m not here to hurt you. You are allowed to watch me and be near me. But you are not allowed to touch, hurt or scare me.” And I realize – I’m not talking to Bloomfield anymore. But to what feels like curious children… ones that are physically not there. They feel preteen and younger. It’s not a vision. It’s not something I hear. It’s just something I feel. Or we can chalk this up to I’ve got one heck of an imagination. Which is HIGHLY possible! But again, it feels completely natural to address ‘them’ out loud.
I make my way back into the center living room – you know it – it’s the one with the mystery window.
There is a 12×12 foundation timber in there that has been completely hollowed out by a team of well trained militant termites. They did such a clean job on this giant log leaving only a thin veneer about 3cm thick on the remaining 3 sides of the log. Hollowed it out like pros.
There has been plywood covering this area for awhile. I decide it’s time for the plywood to go away and see what this soon-to-be gorgeous room will look like without all this nasty rotting stuff laying around.
In doing so I find a 2-foot (tiny) black snake curled up napping under a loose floorboard. I thanked him for keeping the mice away but with a long stick in one hand, I grabbed his tail with the other, allowing his head to wrap around the stick and I gently walk him outside and place him in the high grassed forest behind the house. I told him his services were no longer needed and I hoped he hadn’t left behind any family members. Walking away I feel rather proud of myself for accomplishing this snake extraction on my own. I like to feel proud when I do stupid stuff and don’t get hurt. Kind of a warped way of justifying getting away with something I really should have been smarter not to do to begin with. Anyway – like restoring Bloomfield… sometimes you have to naively go after things and hope for the best outcome. If you don’t, where’s the adventure in life.
So, with my new found professional notch in my belt as Snake Charmer, I return to the center living room where I’d accomplished my death defying feat only moments before… And realize I have yet another grand hurdle in front of me: getting the back door to open.
Let me tell you about this door. It’s magnificent. Solid wood. On it is a deadbolt lock of forged iron 1 inch thick and 5 inches long. Under that is a 8 inch x 4 inch metal door latch and key hole… minus the knob. Wait! I’d seen a knob upstairs. So I run up (okay hobble… I’m 51 and in dire need of a double knee replacement) and get the knob from the mantle upstairs where I’d left it after finding it in the fireplace itself. It’s not quite the fit of the hole where the knob should go – but I make it work.
A little magic WD40 on the deadbolt and a strong thumb… I hear: EERRRK & it suddenly moves, then slides back with ease. Then I turn the ill-fitted knob… CLICK. The door opens. “AAAHHHHH”: The angels sing. And I’m standing where it feels no man or woman has stood for probably 80+ years. In the threshold of what was once the front door now back door where it once led to a double decker porch a hundred years ago and now leads to nothing but a 15 foot drop. Standing in the threshold of the 1.5 foot wide exterior stone wall precipice. I think ~ sit down. I look down at the floor and there is no way! There were way too many unexplained objects and undefined carcasses to sit on that floor. So I grab my broom, wedge the old screen door open with a large rock and sweep out the years of collected debris. I think ‘sit down’ again. I say out loud “on what?” I turn and look back into the foyer remembering a green bucket we were using for trash. I grab the bucket – take out the one wrapper and a face mask and toss them to the floor. Rush back to my newly defined throne placement and set my bucket upside down and take my seat. It’s glorious.
The house exhales. So do I. The only sound is the wind and the birds. I’m in heaven.