I live about twenty minutes outside of Raleigh, the 43rd most populated state in the United states. It has a population of about 430,000. I live right next to Cary, which has a population of 151,000. I live in the heart of suburbia — “encroaching suburbia” is what it can best be called. The farm that Lacey and I visited in October is about five minutes from where I live.
When I was driving home a few weeks ago, I turned onto Church Street and noticed that there was an awful lot of smoke. As I continued driving, I thought it smelled like smoke, too. The smoke was only getting denser and denser the closer I got to the Presbyterian Church. Finally I spotted a sign — fireman training in progress. I glanced across the street from the church and saw a house engulfed in flames. I saw a woman sitting in a lawnchair, watching. I saw maybe one fireman standing outside the house. That’s all I saw in the split second before I turned my eyes back onto the road.
I wondered if I should go back and watch. Clearly they weren’t stopping the one woman on the lawnchair. But I was also very tired, since I had been up since 5:00 in the morning. I decided to go home and stay home.
I regretted that decision. What happened to going out and living? Seeing new sights? How often did one get to watch a house burn down?
Two days ago I kept myself busy. I cleaned a fishtank, in preparation for goldfish. I reorganized my living room. I read two books — I can’t really concentrate, so I would pick them up, read a page or two, set them down, and walk away. I ate well. I was feeling satisfied with myself. So I decided that I would, indeed, go take a closer look at the burned down house.
First of all, if someone ever asks me for fun things to do in Morrisville, NC, “walking down Church Street” is not something I would recommend. Church Street has intermittent sidewalks and the ground immediately drops down from the road. I was frequently in danger of being run over.
In the ditch between the road and the burned house, someone has tossed a fresh stack of hay, making it easy for me to cross over to the burned-down property. Where did they get the hay? Why do we have hay? Church Street is weirdly rural, in the center of suburbia.
However, the burned-down house had police tape all around it.
“I am a responsible 28-year-old member of society,” I told myself. “I’m not going to cross that line.”
But I was so far away and could only take so many pictures from one angle.
“I just won’t walk on the house,” I said. “Just on the lawn.”
So I got as close as five feet from the house. Look at those pictures. Totally worth getting a potential trespassing fine. I have no idea what the “C” means. Condemned? I don’t know legal things.
“Yes,” I said, inspecting the house in the fading light. “That is a burnt bunch of house things.”
I went home.
But, of course, living close to condemned houses and houses flying the Confederate flag isn’t the only good thing about living in encroaching suburbia. Since we’re surrounded by farms, we got to go berry-picking!
They’re Sweet Charlie tomatoes from a farm near Cary. We picked them ourselves! In the sun! We had honey from the same farm! I bought a cantaloupe and a tomato plant. It’s the last days of berry-picking season, so there wasn’t much to get, but we managed to get a full bucket of blood-red strawberries (for pie, of course). I learned a lot! Strawberry plants have flowers! Honeybees are nice! Strawberries taste best right off the plant!