As the shadow moves, bouncing
gently, the breeze lightly
brushes this massive maple,
a living thing, necessary—
strong, solid, hardy—
with leaves the width of
my hand, fingers spread.

Its limbs reach high
and roots dig deep.
The wheel of time
rests against its hardy
trunk, a wagon wheel—painted
to make old look old—but new
is the garden at its base,
surrounded by stone.
A circle, in a circle.

The house, as solid and firm
as its companion standing
stoic in the yard, remains strong.
How long has it been here?
Longer than you or I.

A photograph, missing, of father
or mother, or son or daughter—I
don’t remember which,
where, or when—standing before it.
Heritage. This house, this land
has history.

The tree comes to just above
their heads—tall but out of reach.
The man wearing a suit, the
woman, a dress. Were they smiling?
Written on the back of the photograph
was the date, 1884 or 1886. I wish
I could remember.

What special event would warrant
a photograph? Is the date the age
of the house? Or is it recording the birth
of a child? I was told there were twins—
two houses, two brothers—one who built
an exact copy of this house
just down the road,
with the floor plans reversed.

We do not need to leave
the front light on
to encourage shadows
and stories to play in its light.
Here inspiration is rich
and as colourful as the story
of the little white cottage
that used to be on the hill
in our back yard.

A book titled
The Rock Before the Door:
He, who grew up in that house
on the hill by the rock
by the door, fished. First with
father and brothers, then as captain
on the great sea. He dreamed.
He wrote. He built his house
at the bottom of the hill.
Life was a promise.
A house was a home.

Connections, yet not
connected. Related, but
not. Our family is
new to this house.
Our hearts already buried
deep in its land. Our mark
made. The land, its warmth
felt in the breeze, its touch
sensed in the rain, its
comfort heard in the birds’ call,
reaches out to embrace.

First child to be born to this
house in over one hundred years:
My child, this house
is your home.
Your legacy is older
than the tree and the house behind it,
and ready to be as rich as the stories
of that little white-washed cottage
that used to sit on the hill.


Sketch from The Rock Before the Door

About Denise Reashore

Denise Reashore was born and raised in Shelburne County and lives in Barrington Passage, NS. She teaches in rural Nova Scotia, where she lives on three acres of land, rich with its own history, and shares an old-style home with her husband, two daughters, and a cat. Denise graduated from Acadia University, with a degree in English, then continued her studies at Mount Saint Vincent University, where she specialized in Elementary Education. She participated in the Shelburne County Writers Mentorship Program and a course on writing for children and teenagers. She has attended workshops on writing memoir, finding a voice and exploring writing through reading poetry. Read more at denisereashore.com.

About The Rock Before the Door

The Rock Before the Door, written by Thomas S. Hopkins and illustrated by Jane Hopkins Poole, was published in 2013 by One Story Books, an imprint of the Shelburne County Arts Council, Shelburne, Nova Scotia.

One thought on “Legacy

  1. NatalieTaylor

    What a wonderful read. I know this house and the people living there. I have seen it flourish with new life and become a real home once again. I look forward to any new publication from Ms. Reashore.


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