Write On: by Erin Brandt (Tucked away in Spruce township)
April 22, 2023
Essay by: Erin Brandt
Roseau Community School
Mrs. Didrikson, CIHS English 11
From the outside, my cream-colored, one story house can seem like a stereotypical midwestern abode. In reality, however, it is much more than that. It is my home. Where I have experienced every emotion under the sun, good and bad; where I have received some of the best news of my life and some of the worst. My first dog is buried in the ground I used to chase butterflies and other insects on. I’ve memorized where every rock or hole disrupts the reliable grassy floor. I can hear the comforting crunch of the gravel on our family walks around our block. At the end of school days or after long shifts at work, I often find myself yearning for my home. Tucked away in Spruce Township, it is an escape from the hecticness of everyday life as well as a reminder of my parents’ hard work. The setting I have called home since birth will remain a part of me until death.
Hands-down, my favorite part about where I live is the connection to nature. Located ten miles out of town, a dusty gravel road that takes four minutes to drive down will lead you to my front door. From there, any visitor will notice the lush woods surrounding my house from three directions as well as my neighbor’s field that marks the border of my backyard. This field, usually growing some sort of grass, attracts deer throughout the warm months. Sometimes traveling in numbers too large to count, they are one of my favorite woodland creatures to observe and appreciate.
The woods are a completely different world in itself. I have spent countless hours of countless days exploring and becoming familiar with the trees, mosses and wildflowers that grow with free range. During my elementary days, after I got off the bus, I would immediately call my mom at work and tell her that I made it home and would most likely still be playing in the woods by the time she got home. During those adventures, I would build forts with sticks and forage for “food,” only returning to real civilization after I had a sufficient amount of dirt under my fingernails. I even used to invite friends over for my birthday party, having them join me in my makeshift village. Along with holding many fond childhood memories, the immense nature I interact with daily provides me a sense of comfort and beauty.
The interior of my home supplies me with constant moments of appreciation. Off the top of my head I can think of a list of what gives me joy, it is as follows: the jangle of my black lab’s collar as he obsessively chases the ball that was thrown for him, the shadows of plants being bathed in the setting sun’s golden light, the smell of my dad’s Traeger meticulously smoking a form of meat for dinner, the shuffling of playing cards as everyone gathers around the table for a late-night game of King’s Corners. These small, yet important moments reflect who I am as a person as well as simultaneously shaping who I will become. The time spent with my family provides me with examples of the love I want to receive and give as well as the values I view I hold near and dear to my heart.
During one summer night this past August, I was sitting on my patio with my parents. We were gathered around our large DIY concrete table talking about the future and other random topics while country music softly played from a speaker in the background. As I gazed across my backyard I got an overwhelming sense of contentment. At that moment I realized how truly wonderful my home was and how difficult it will be to one day leave it. I even brought up how I wanted to buy it from them if they ever even thought of selling it after too many years of being empty-nesters. I find it difficult to ever give up the beauty found within the simplicity of my home.