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The little stone barn was a wreck – a dusty shell, full of broken glass, dead leaves and angry squirrels.
So of course it was love at first sight.
I can’t seem to ever fall for shiny, perfect things. Whether it’s a dog, a horse, or a house, I’m drawn to creatures with a few chips and cracks, hard-luck cases with stories to tell.
The barn, just like my house, was built by an Italian mason for his family over a century ago, out of fieldstone, wood, and a few found things—like the old steel railroad tracks holding up the house’s first floor. Both buildings were neglected in recent years, and then abandoned.
I never met the builder, but he’s here. I feel him every time I run my hands over the huge, heavy stones he placed, one-by-one. I hear him whistling canzone as he worked. I see him looking up at the star he inlaid high up on an outer wall – a five-pointer, one point for each of his children.
Over the course of three years, my husband and I brought the house back, and now it’s time to tackle the barn. Its windows are shot and so is the roof. The street-side doors are about to fall off. Poison ivy has colonized an entire wall. But the stones are solid, and the mortar is sound.
The little barn is going to be my new office and I’m giddy at the thought of the books I’m going to write within its strong walls.
Nothing lasts forever, the saying goes. But maybe some things do. A hand-built house. A five-point star. Stories and memories and music and ghosts. And hard-luck, hard-won, stubborn-as-stone love.