Read e-book online A Family Place: A Hudson Valley Farm, Three Centuries, Five PDF

By Leila Philip

One woman's trip to discover her family's heritage and comprehend the binds that bind us to a specific place..

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Read or Download A Family Place: A Hudson Valley Farm, Three Centuries, Five Wars, One Family (Excelsior Editions) PDF

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Extra info for A Family Place: A Hudson Valley Farm, Three Centuries, Five Wars, One Family (Excelsior Editions)

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A thick, humid heat spread over the land, over me. Each evening I walked out into the cooling rows of trees with the dogs. Animals that we did not usually see appeared like omens at unexpected moments. Along the leafy tunnel of the railroad bed, we came upon a snapping turtle so large that at first I thought it was an abandoned tire that someone had flung onto the road. The next morning a red fox came sauntering up to the edge of the back lawn, then drifted, red smoke, back into the woods. When it grew too hot to be outside, I walked the cool interior of the house, around and around as if circling a mandala.

My mother will hear him fall and rush back into the bathroom with his socks. By the time the rescue team races upstairs, they only confirm what my mother already knows. My father is dead. 6 Only. That moment with its crushing awareness has not yet come. I am still back in time’s sweet web, sitting with my father while the sunset fades, while birds and a light whisper of a wind signal the coming of night. Leaves are dropping from the trees, each one glazed with sun. But I see only the aftermath: bright swatches of color on the lawn.

Then I took a breath and read a short poem in which I described my father trying to teach me how to prune a tree. When we left the church, my eldest brother had made the sign of the cross and, in his honoring of the Presbyterian tradition, bent over and kissed his father’s coffin. Historically the transfer of an ancestral place in an established landowning family like mine, in keeping with the English tradition that it followed, would have had nothing to do 41 ] with me or my sister. Perhaps we still felt that even though we inherited equal shares of Talavera.

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