I married into a family whose legacy is 30 acres of forest perched beside a small tidal cove on Puget Sound.
My grandchildren are the sixth generation to spend some part of their summers here.
Throughout our stay we bridge the past and the present for the children.
We sleep in a hundred year old barn built by a homesteading Swede. Some time ago my mother in law had the barn's massive square log walls restored and the interior retrofitted as a rustic living space. Our beds sit where there was once hay. A fire in the small wood stove chases the chill away, and its crackling is a gentle wake-up call.
Hiking through the woods on the unpaved path we refer to as Norrie's road we tell a story about the great-great grandpa for whom it is named. On the way to the beach we point out the site of Aunt Jane's wedding thirty years ago and describe to the kids what their six year old mom wore. My husband teaches the kids to catch crabs, poke gooey ducks (a type of clam), and build forts to be defended against the incoming tide the way he did.
The grands are seven and under so their conception of the past is fuzzy. Currently their memory bridge is like a primitive jungle vine V stretched over a ravine. They need more afternoons pouring over photo albums learning the who's who of the family tree. They need more raucous dinners shared with second and third cousins, great aunt and uncle and lots of story telling.
We're building a bridge from Now to Then, and someday--to the future.