Oof, it’s been a while, but the best way to jump back in is to take a leap, right? I’ll pick up as if I never took a huge breath and signed on to help my mom move from her deceptively small house…two months ago. Never mind that she collects salvage the way some people collect figurines, never met a paint can she could let go of (eighty-six, and I’ve got kitty litter receipts to prove it), and saves glass jars as if there’s a critical shortage. Everything else in my life fell by the wayside as I entered a nether world of shredders, trash removal guys, piano movers, and became way too familiar with the local U-Haul franchise.
But if I stretch it here, I can almost make an awkward transition to Jenne Farm. I’ve spent the last eight weeks packing up belongings that hold all kinds of memories, whereas this Reading, Vermont, farmhouse evokes memories that we mostly only read about. Time stands still when you drive off Route 106 and climb the rutted dirt road to a hilltop that dips down into a valley spreading out like smooth new butter. A farm, a barn, a cluster of outbuildings.
Gloriously photogenic, and by the way, the most photographed farm in New England. Possibly North America. It’s appeared in films like Forrest Gump and graced magazine covers—Life, Vermont Life, Yankee. But it’s not the sort of pristine, overly precious spread that mogol money buys. It’s the real deal. Daryl and Daryl live here. The farm hangs on by a thread as the heirs struggle to keep the postcard picture alive. They lost a shed last year. Another lists like a ship going down. It’s breathtakingly beautiful, and sad, and like watching memory come to life and then fade away. Well worth a photo, I’d say.