Once upon a time, in a land far away… there is a place called Grey.
I can feel the sunshine on my arm, gazing out the truck window at the rolling and wild countryside, the smell of the earth, the crunching of the gravel underneath our tires as we made our way up the long drive, enchantment lay before me.
I don’t recall how we found it, but Tim had second-sight almost for finding mystery.
We spotted it tucked away off the road, surrounded by an embracing brush of trees in the middle of a meadow. As we drove up, I recall this buzz of joy.
Mom, it was gorgeous in its decay. Its fragile beauty spoke to me.
It had been so long since any human had passed through those doors.
Tim was afraid of nothing. Well, almost nothing. And I knew he so very badly would have explored closer if I’d let him. Or if all the brambles and late summer wildflowers and fauna had not blocked his way.
Grey is littered with these abandoned dreams. These forgotten places, roads to nowhere anymore littered the landscape. Old roads made only for horse and buggy’s.
Whispers of something. I swear, you know, behind Irish Lake and the pastures. Tucked in where few venture behind the lake, I swear there is a Native Burial ground, or something sacred. Something, cause I could feel it as we walked around the edge of this little clearing in the wood.
The book that Grandma had – The Search For The Girl With The Blue Eyes, by Jess Stearn – well it takes place around Meaford, and up onto Irish Mountain, south of Georgian Bay. The military took it over towards the end of that century, and all those Irish settlers were kicked out.
Isn’t that something? A book about reincarnation, of a young girl’s memories of being a homesteader back in the 19th century. How amazing that I ended up there, albeit unwittingly. I carried that book around with me for years you know. One day I came across it when we had just moved to the Cottage, and I was astounded. I had completely forgotten about that story.
Is that not enchanting? To think where life will take you. Of all the blood, sweat and tears of a woman she never knew. A woman who, once her husband had died, spent decades all on her own.
I often imagined her, maybe just there on that old abandoned trackway. I saw her face at windows where once she may have looked through. Remnants of churches she may have attended, and stands of trees where you just KNEW there was once a house standing. Maybe hers?
I miss it all you know Mom. Every abandoned roadway. Every single tree. Every enchanted lake, and stream. Every hidden way and all the abandoned places left in meadows.
I miss walks in woods, and stumbling upon little mysteries, and rock walls to scramble over. Lost in another adventure. Of dipping your head, and watching where you put your feet, and going where I would never, ever have gone myself. Like I said, Mom, he was fearless.
Just once more, I wish I could go back to that sunny day. Go back and hug him, and thank him for taking me to those places; regardless of the heartache that came after. I would do it ALL again.