Word: SOUL
Word count: 324

By Beverly Jones

The stone noses its way through the desiccated leaves, straining for the sunlight above. Others follow into the life-giving rays. I’ve passed this way before and never noticed the stones. Now they refuse to be ignored.

The foundation is in place before the rains begin. Fat raindrops shatter against the brown and grey surfaces. Soon the weeds hide the stone bottoms and wildflowers wash against the steps.
By midsummer the skeleton is constructed. I can see the wooden lathing through the chinks in the clapboard siding. But the roof has not been raised. At snowfall I stand looking at the outlines of the house. The full moon casts blue shadows across the rolling yard. People pass but they do not see the house.
Spring brings rains again. Some are fierce, some gentle as cat’s fur. Between storms the tin roof is settled on the beams, sturdy, providing shelter for those whose lives are lived there. I wonder who they are. Through the bright, crisp curtained windows, I see them move through the rooms. The children laugh in the sunshine and sled in the snow, sometimes rolling, making snow angels. There are yelling disagreements, soft make up kisses in the kitchen. Babies are tucked into cribs, elders sit rocking by the fireplace.
The clapboard ages as the people do. Children become adults and move away, returning at Thanksgiving and Easter, bring grandchildren and then great-grandchildren. The house continues to grow older. Her porch begins to sag; the bright white paint of her sides peels away.
Empty now, she begins to lean against the corner posts like an old lady on her canes. One fine fall day, she sits down on her foundation. There is nothing to see but timbers and dressed stones. People pass and do not see. But I do. I see her in her splendor, shining in the sun. I hear her soul echoing through her remains in the soft breezes of summer.

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