The house down Old Nazareth Road is at the end of a hair pin curve, near the bottom of a hill, next to what was, once upon a time, not a dry creek bed. The remains of a crumbling stone wall made from rocks from the creek bed and surrounding ground – dug up in an attempt to make the ground more agriculture friendly, even just enough to plant a simple garden – starts at the western corner of the small plot of land, reaching almost to the front porch before it begins to fall apart, rocks sitting on the ground with the grass and weeds growing wild around and over them. It had been a grander project once, one that had been scaled back over the years out of a growing apathy on the part of the original planner or because someone did not pick up for the planner left off.
Turn of the last century farm houses are rare in these parts, where progress and the suburban influence has a strong, albeit tenuous, foothold. They are even rarer still because even the heartiest of hands sometimes has to build out of expediency rather than a sense of permanence. The house near the dry creek bed was originally a one room house with a half story upstairs for sleeping in the winter. The porch was an enclosed summer porch, probably used as an extra room in warmer spring and summer months, back when you could sleep with the shutters open and the windows up, when people were not worried about death carried by mosquitoes the size of DC-7s or about whether one of their neighbors was going to break in for some unspoken and nefarious purpose.
From a distance, it looks sturdy. The roof shingles look almost new. Upon a little closer inspection, the outhouse – which still manages to smell like it's been recently used – is the sturdier of the two structures. The right front end of the summer porch sags like a load bearing part of the structure simply evaporated; the wooden siding – that's showing through the concourse of vines, growing up, around, and over the house in all directions – is more of a dirty gray than the shiny white it had probably once been when it was loved and cared for. Upon even closer inspection, the back end of the house – a much later addition, from the looks of it – is collapsed. The back wall is partially burned out from a long forgotten fire. The interior of the house has been overrun by the nature it was supposed to keep out. Except for two broken stools, the remains of an old rocking chair, a rusted coal bucket and dead leaves, twigs, and animal droppings cover everything. The whole other side of the house is leaning towards the creek bed, and looks like it will someday simply fall into the line of trees between the house and the parched artery of dirt and rock, erode and rot quickly like the diseased crab apple trees in front of the house.
It appears that the only thing keeping the house upright is the tangled interstate of vines. At any moment, it looks as if a strong breeze could knock over the remaining structure, and the vines would remain intact in the shape of a house, the way fossils form in old stone.