Another kind of twilight might have devoured Wolf Pen years ago when the whole neighborhood began to be eaten up by sprawl. Acres of strip malls, like the huge ones a couple of miles away, subdivisions like the relatively modest one on the farm’s western border or like the grotesque caricature of a “community,” the pre-planned and pre-molded “North Commons” might have marched across these open fields. A community limited to those who look like us will never be a community, which can only be formed through an amalgamation of differences and the necessary level of trust.
Of course, there are always issues. The big and the little ponds, once kept clear of scum by aerators, are now almost covered with green mold, due to too much rain and the nitrate run-off from all the neighboring lawns. Because there is so much water, no house can be built here without its quarter acre of sod, the sod grown on what few farms are left rather than corn or cows.
And Hopscotch House, the big yellow farmhouse that belongs to the Kentucky Foundation for Women and that has been used, for decades, by feminist artists needed space and time, has suffered the sad deterioration of houses that are not loved. The art by women we bought twenty-five years ago has the static quality of art from a certain period; windowsills are scaled and crumbling; most windows don’t open, and the institutional look of tiny mattress on bald frames would strike horror into the hearts of the women who first used it, when there were quilts and fresh flowers abounding. But that was due to a gifted and devoted manager who is, alas, no longer with us.
Houses, like people, die when they are not loved….
But that can be remedied. Light and hope and humor can come into Hopscotch House again along with a fresh coat of paint and some color, and the women who go there can begin to understand the context: a house devoted to art by women in the midst of 420 acres devoted to preservation.
The connection seems obvious.