I’m looking at a picture of a shadow. A plant sits on a ledge outside a yellow house – a little plant in a plastic bucket casting its broad-leaved shadow on the plaster wall. Around the corner, kids sit in the shade of the porch, lean legs stretched out or bent with arms resting on top. One girl leans against the pillar.
For years, we came to the property, empty and grassy. We imagined the bricks, stacked and mortared. We squinted until we could see the slope of the roof. We listened to words that tumbled out into blueprints on the rugged ground. The sun cast long shadows of home.
Today, this picture. One quiet moment. Soon a dog will bark. Soon a friend will come by, hand on skirted hip, with a story to tell. A young boy will run by kicking a stone. The girl at the pillar will scold him, and he will laugh mischievously as he runs away.
Soon someone will take the plant off its sun-soaked ledge. They will overturn the dirt, will shovel a hole. They will take the plant out of its bucket, place it in the ground, tamp down the soil around its stem. It will stretch its roots deep into the earth, reaching, reaching, like the shadow of the house across the field.