Sunday, June 27, 2010

Ghosts

Last night I went for a walk in the woods. It was quite wet out so I wore my gumboots. Nevertheless my pant legs got quite wet from wading through dripping ferns.

After walking around in the woods along the vault for awhile, I came back out onto the road and walked down to the clearing where the house I built used to be. It burned down seventeen years ago. The clearing has been maintained by its current owner as a grassy meadow with flowers: lilies, foxglove, mallows, forget-me-nots and lupins.

I went into the clearing and walked around, finally coming to the place where my house used to stand. I built it in a spot surrounded by beautiful white birches, but those birches were badly scorched in the fire, and now they are all dead. I feel bad about that.

As I was standing there, I thought I could make out the outline of the walls of my house. It was a hexagon, six-sided, and I could make out the six walls as faint lines in the grass. I stood at the spot that would have been the front door. When I built it I put the door in the wall facing the road, but a later owner moved the door around to the opposite wall. I stood where I put the door. I turned around to look at the view, where the path was to the road, where my outhouse was, where the slashpile was beside the house.

And then my father walked by me, from the right to the left, and disappeared. I don't believe in ghosts, but I could see him there, walking by my front door. He died three years after the fire.

It gave me a bit of a chill, a cold sadness for things lost. I could never live there again. Don't think I haven't thought about it, but not now.

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