Stranger in My Backyard

We have now lived in our home for 10 years. We moved in May of 2002, just before Sylvia’s 2nd birthday. There have only been 4 families to live here since it was built circa 1940. Right away things began to happen. Nothing really threatening ,…just strange.

A week before we moved in, I took several days off and cleaned the house. As I stood at the kitchen sink,  I had the distinct feeling of being watched. I looked out the window into the back yard, to see a man standing under the walnut tree. It was a bright, sunny, spring day and branches of the tree draped toward the sun dappled grass. Just through the branches, I could see the silhouette of an African American man, standing under the tree his arm stretched out touching the trunk. I did a double take. He was no longer there. I shrugged and went about my business. Curious.

Later that afternoon, my friend D, came to my house to help. We were going to perform a house blessing. A simple ceremony to set the tone of intent for our home and our lives in it. I go out to meet her. She sets her supplies down on the driveway and without looking up says “You know, you’ve got some kind of guy hanging out under that tree.” “I know”, I say and we proceed with our work. Curiouser.

The house blessing goes well and Kent comes home. As he comes in the door he says “ Did you see that guy out there under the tree?” Curiouser and Curiouser. Third times the charm! Three people see the same thing in the same place without having spoken to one another about it, what gives? I still don’t know.

A few months later, we learn something from our neighbors. They have lived on this street for 40+ years. Where the old Shoneys is on Gallatin Road there used to stand a plantation house and that all the land down our street was the private gardens of the estate. Coincidence? My mind went straight to the morbid, “Was there someone buried back there?” maybe….

I later began to document all the plant shrubs flower etc that were on our property, I found out that the tree under which we saw the gentleman was a male black walnut, meaningful? Maybe?…
I went out and planted some flowers around the tree and only occasionally see our back yard visitor.

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