Celebrating a 250-Year-Old House | Mary's Farm
The next day, a friend called to tell me something else. She and her husband had fled in the storm, perhaps a bit ahead of the others. They’d driven through the downpour a very short distance down my road–the one that Benjamin Mason originally built–when there to one side a tree was on fire, a brilliant blaze. While they watched it spread to the next tree, despite the torrents of rain, they called 911. A wire dropped into the road. Then, in one single moment, a huge billowing cloud of steam burst upward as the pouring rain finally extinguished the blaze at once. “That was a supernatural ending to your party,” my friend told me.
I wish I’d seen this brilliant flame turn to steam in the driving rain. It made me think about the order of things, how there had been so many obstacles to pulling this party off, how we had somehow managed to schedule it for the weekend when we were to experience two of the most intense storms of the summer. I was especially intrigued with the loss of electricity two days in a row–two very important days in the life of this house that Benjamin Mason built. We don’t lose power very often in the summer. But as we’d lit the candles for our meal the night before, I was reminded that Benjamin Mason had never had any power to lose.
In so many ways, we had summoned Ben Mason into our present, into our 21st-century reality. Maybe he was answering back–maybe throwing a lightning bolt down into the trees to give us the fireworks we lacked–maybe doing some handstands up in heaven.
It might have been the beauty of this land and its dramatic sky that brought me here, but the house, its history, its voices, the thought of the many feet that have touched its floors, this is what is so meaningful to me now. I’m only here to make it better, to make it last.