We wind around a snow spattered path – nothing but the sounds of early birds and ice crunching under our feet. There it sits, a little old farm house, nestled in the middle of acres upon acres of lush woodland. I’m instantly mesmorized, a weakness for history takes over me and I stop – straining to see more.
Big wood planks, window frames old, paint peeling. We all stand in wonder at this almost two-hundred year old cabin. The plaque on the wall says it is a plain, modest farmhouse for its time. But there is nothing ordinary about it.
This is the house that freedom bought. Hands once bound by slavery, unravelled and blazing with passion and determination – those hands lived here. And now I stand, free, gazing in awe at the very thing dreams are made of.
The land was cleared and the home bought in about 1830 by Enerals Griffin and his wife, Priscilla. A black couple born into slavery, they fought hard for freedom – and their long travels brought them right here. Right to this land I stand on today. The house was preserved almost to perfection because of a long line of family owners who cared enough to keep the story alive. And it’s like those walls breathe. I wish they could talk. Tell the story.
As I stand on the front step, I look out on the horizon.
So this was freedom’s view for Mrs. Griffin.
Wide open spaces, land as far as you can gaze, it’s a place no one would have found them. And I get it. And our family gathered here this morning. Just us. Running carefree through the snow, the bushes, the overgrown thistles. Dreaming and capturing. Wondering what it might have been like to have to actually fight for the right to build a life of your own. Wondering what these people must have been like, the tenacity of their souls, the beauty of their freedom found.
The complete wonderment of all things simple. A simple home. A simple outhouse. A simple shed. A simple window. A simple room. A simple door.
As my fingers trace the peeling paint I wonder, have I truly grasped for freedom? Have I clung to hope? Have a set my feet firm on the path set out for me? Have I marched forward with reckless abandon – refusing to let today’s culture preech to me about my worth? About what is important in life. About my place. About what I should live for.
I’m in awe of this house. The people who dwelled here. What it meant to them. What it symbolized to the oppresor. The vain white man who saw it fit to control the fate of others. With every plank nailed upright, the soul grew stronger. The smell of freedom in that fresh cut wood.
And I ask, what does freedom smell like for me? Fresh snow on a frosted morning.
What does freedom taste like? Rye toast, dripping with fresh raspberry jam.
What does freedom look like? Three children, sliding gleefully down a moss-covered rock, nestled safely in the arms of nature’s tree-covered enclosure.
And do I see it?
Today I do. And I soak it in through the wintery glaze.