About a week ago I was talking to my neighbor and writing buddy, Jo, and she dropped the tantalizing nugget of information that a huge historic area and park that was opening up nearby actually connects to the Green Mountain 'hood along a little sliver of woods. All you have to do is juke through the woods and cross the train tracks, and you're right in the thick of it. Soon the park will have miles of trails, a pond, and other attractions.
B was super psyched to hear this information and immediately looked it up on Google maps. He was itching to go out and explore but we had a busy week and temperatures were hovering around 100 degrees so we kept putting it off.
Tonight he couldn't wait any longer and begged me to go explore with him.
"It's so hot," I whined.
"It's not that bad," he said as his glasses steamed up.
"Muruuggggggghhhhhhh," I replied as I delicately melted into a puddle of goo.
"The website says they have some old house foundations...."
Awwww yeah. I'm all about some ruins. Old crumbling chimneys, remnant foundations, mossy walls, mill dams....YES.
It was so stupefyingly hot, and we had just eaten waffles, and I smelled a lot like bug spray, so I had some flashbacks. Things were vaguely reminiscent but luckily not as arduous. I swannee, I have spent this entire summer either stumbling through the woods or typing words in this chair.
After a fair amount of tromping randomly through the undergrowth we found something tremendous! AN OLD SPRING HOUSE!
And when we peeked inside you could still see the spring bubbling up and spilling out the way it was supposed to. It was evident that layers had been added to the house, and it had been retrofitted for power with a pump at some point!
Our path intersected an old road and then we started seeing some orange flags that looked like a trail! It made things a lot simpler and we were even more excited to confirm on our GPS that we were headed in the right direction. I was really sweaty and thirsty but B said something about an old staircase and some columns and I felt the metaphorical wind in my sails. (The actual wind was stagnant.)
We knew we were getting close when we saw some sweet vintage trash.
But then I looked up and saw this majestic clearing!
The pictures don't do it justice. I felt like I'd stumbled into the secret garden. You're looking at the remnants of an entire house, and a really enchanting one at that. The sun was going down and extant crepe myrtles were blooming. The scene was ethereal and smelled like lilacs and pine.
Old places like this, where everything is gorgeously haunted, make my imagination go wild. I love mentally filling in the missing pieces and envisioning what it would've been like in the glory days. It's probably the only trait I have that is even slightly goth. Well, that and my love of sitting in graveyards and staring into the middle distance longingly.
THIS IS THE BEST!
It is amazing how quickly nature can reclaim a place. Let that humble you.
But then a deer stand nearby brings you back to the present.
It's ok, purple is a good color on me. Did I mention it was really hot?
I was enchanted by this teeny bulb I found in the dirt.
And even though I didn't find the kitchen sink, I did find a strainer.
Brain: Take. Me: Why? Brain: You gotta.
(I didn't. I took a picture. It'll last longer...well maybe not...this is a pretty darn old strainer.)
Imagine the parties on the veranda.
B was enamored with this fused glass.
We found where my bulb goes! I don't know why this made me so happy but it did!
I left it in situ.
It's appropriate that I was wearing my new balloon recovery t-shirt. It was a good trial for it. I had a quite fetching sweat/boob outline on it at the end of this excursion.
It was starting to get dim, and we had a long hike out, so we found our way back to the trail and then looped around past where we'd come in. At one point we were surprised by a huge, as yet unidentified, bird of prey who flew off in front of us...landed...and disappeared....around this creeeeeeeppppppy thing.
PS Air conditioning is the best.
"If we will have the wisdom to survive, To stand like slow-growing trees on a ruined place, Renewing, enriching it, If we will make our seasons welcome here, Asking not too much of earth or heaven, Then a long time after we are dead, The lives our lives prepare will live here, Their houses strongly placed upon the valley's sides, Fields and gardens rich in the windows. The river will run clear, as we will never know it, And over it, bird song like a canopy. On the levels of the hills will be green meadows, Stalk bells in noon shade. On the steeps where greed and ignorance Cut down the old forest An old forest will stand, Its rich leaf fall drifting on its roots. The veins of forgotten springs will have opened. Families will be singing in the fields. In their voices they will hear a music Risen out of the ground. They will take nothing from the ground they will not return, Whatever the grief at parting. Memory native to this valley Will spread over it like a grove, And memory will grow into legend, Legend into song, Song into sacrament. The abundance of this place, The songs of its people and its birds Will be health and wisdom and in-dwelling light. This is no paradisal dream. Its hardship is its possibility."- Wendell Berry