To sell a homestead is to part with the physical things that keep all the intangible memories in one place.
It’s being OK with saying goodbye to the apple tree with its long, manicured arms bursting with sweet fruit every fall.
But it’s not easy.
We nearly lost that tree this past winter.
I remember the day as though it were yesterday. Wind whipped through our yard and the ground, not yet frozen, sagged under the weight of snow from an early storm.
The combination was enough to bring down the tree.
My husband and I were beside ourselves. This wasn’t just any apple tree. It came with the house, but still, this was our apple tree, a symbol of the life we’d built together in a little yellow house in Maine. It was the tree we sat under with our brand new baby the previous summer, still in awe of her tiny toes and perfect little lips.
So through the biting cold we trudged.
An hour or so later we had hoisted the tree back upright, using cargo straps tied to stakes hammered deep into the ground. Months after the final snow pile thawed, we went to check the tree. It was sturdy as ever.
This week, as we prepare to move more than 3,000 miles away from that tree, I noticed dozens of little green apples filling its branches.
I’ll never eat those apples.
To sell a homestead is to come to terms with potential buyers not valuing your little coveted space the same way you do.
Their children haven’t learned how to walk there, taking that transformative journey from cautious crawling to stumbling steps.
They haven’t dreamed of filling rooms with more children, so the halls fill with laughter and the joyous noise of a big family. Nor do they know the joy of looking out the kitchen window and seeing cloth diapers hanging on a line on a sunny day or a baby toddling after her daddy as he rakes leaves in the fall.
How do you put a price on that?
I can only hope these memories will be part of someone else’s journey.
Selling a homestead is parting with the fire pit we dug out of 6 feet of snow this winter to hold what we called Bangor’s first and only “yeti fest.”
That day dawned bright and clear. Cabin fever had hit our little home bad, and we were in need of a celebration.
A celebration of friends, freezing weather and good food.
For hours, my husband shoveled and snowblowed until the fire ring we built the summer before was exposed. We put out the word on Facebook, and friends flocked.
They brought blankets, babies, beer and came bearing sausages to cook over the fire. We had a box of extra winter gear to share if it got really cold.
But we didn’t need it.
Like true Mainers, we just hunkered closer to the fire, bursting with a twisted sense of pride in knowing the wind chill was well below 30 below and we were out, having a party.
Maine has captured my heart a hundred times over. Somewhere between seeing my first moose and driving through a major blizzard to bring our first child home, I fell in love with this wild land.
Selling a homestead is knowing that, no matter what, those memories of sweet times, friends who’ve become family and this beautiful state always will remain.
But saying goodbye is not easy.