Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Abandoned House

In keeping with this week’s history theme, I am featuring the Abandoned House. That’s the name we gave to a once marvelous, Queen Anne style, two-story-with-an-attic house that is melting back into the woods about a quarter mile up Township Road 166 past the cabin. The township road is also abandoned. It turns into grass after our driveway and disappears into the woods altogether after it passes the Abandoned House.

As late afternoon was turning into evening yesterday, I put on jeans and a hat and found a branch to carry in front of me for the trek up the hill. The branch is for the cobwebs that hang like fishing net up the relatively open trail. Even with the branch, I took a few across the face—blech! Here is the road as you head up the trail:

And here it is looking back down: I made a huge racket crunching through the dry leaves. I thought of those frontiersmen I’m reading about and wondered how they managed to move silently through the woods in fall. Every so often, I stopped so that I could hear the sounds around me. There was an eerie feeling in the woods despite the warm glow of the early autumn sunlight. A breeze moved high up in the trees. I shivered a little and looked right and left. I felt the ghosts of the people and animals who traveled this defunct road long ago moving through the trees. I could hear the wagon wheels crunching gravel, the jingle of harness, and the calls of men. I could see children playing and dogs looking for scraps. All these ghosts of the past were busy once with worldly concerns just like me.

The path that cuts off the old road to the Abandoned House is always farther than I think it is. Deer trails scattered up the hill fake me out, too. With the autumn wilt of the vegetation, though, I found the trail easily last night. It isn’t long before you duck under some saplings and the house comes into view.
She's an old, late Victorian lady defiant in her finery. Miss Havisham with a bedraggled lace scarf framing her haggard face.

She is the witch who caught Rapunzel and now the twisted braid of her jealous soul is pulling her down into the earth.

She's an old beauty queen...

with an alchoholic past.

I don't know anything about the Abandoned House except that it was liveable in the 1970s when the Neff's bought the cabin. Wouldn't it be something to live in a "painted lady" tucked up in the middle of the woods at the end of an old township road? Too late for that, obviously. We did get permission from the woman who owns the land that it sits on, however, to harvest pieces of the house, and so a little of it can live on with us. We've got some of the decorative moulding and slate from the roof to make something pretty with in our new house. I know that John is still coveting the beautifully weathered wood off the carriage barn that is falling down in the woods next to the house.

Before the light faded too far and things got downright scary instead of just creepy, I headed back. At the bottom of the hill, I viewed my cabin from the old road--the same vantage point as all those ghosts from years past. I was cheered to know that my cabin is still happily inhabited by flesh and blood people.


Family Smudge said...

maybe this could be a house for us if we were there!!!! Truly, the pictures are amazing. Where you live just seems so rich with nature and history ...

Meg said...

Oh, would that the Family Smudge could live up the hill--we could barter back and forth all day! (though I wouldn't trust me with highlights ;)