About 30 minutes into the drive to Dad's there's a mystery that's puzzled me for a long time. It's a real conundrum. (Isn't conundrum a cool word?) I've passed it dozens of times and still, I always wonder which came first: the house or the tree. It's an old log house, weathered with age but not falling down just yet. And right beside the front wall - and I mean right beside - is what's left of a tree trunk A big tree trunk.
It takes a long time for a tree to get that big. And it takes a long time for a house to weather like that. And on the front the original logs are visible. All that adds up in my mind to a lot of years passing by with both the house and the tree right where they are now. But surely someone didn't plant a tree that close to the house, did they? And if the tree was there first, they wouldn't build a house that close, would they?
It's a neat old house. Today was the first time I actually stopped and really looked it over. The front door was boarded shut at one point, but I wonder how many folks passed through it before that.
I suppose there must have been a front porch too, since the door is so high off the ground. The upstairs windows are short, indicating that they're close to the floor and under the slant of the roof. We have two windows like that in our house and you have to either bend over or kneel to really see out of them. If there were children living here, I bet they watched out those windows for the arrival of grandparents, cousins, or friends.
Or maybe the full moon shone in on them as they lay in bed at night. But then again, if that tree was as big as the trunk shows it was, maybe they couldn't see much of anything out of those windows. Perhaps they snuck out of the house, shimmying down the tree and stealing off into the dark for who knows what kind of mischief.
I guess you can tell that I think about all kinds of things during the two-hour drive to Dad's. Sometimes my imagination gets a little out of hand. I do wonder, though, about this house. What do you think? Which came first, the house or the tree?