I hiked out to an abandoned homestead yesterday. I find these here and there in the forest. Some are very ancient, little left other than stone foundations, caving basements and forgotten wisps of dreams. In one place deep in the wildwood where I harvest end-of-summer beaked hazelnuts, there is an old cabin, nothing left but log walls, probably the remnants of a middle or early 19th century homestead. But this old place–the one in the photo–is different from all the rest. Things watch from the shadows. Eyes press ever on you; unfriendly watching things. Things scuttle and whisper within.
The old place has not fared well this winter, but it doesn’t seem like to fall anytime soon, either. Long ago, I might have been inclined to buy the place and bring it back to life, but now it is so far gone there is no saving it. We go there at the end of summer to harvest feral grapes, crab apples, wild apples, rosehips, and Japanese lanterns. I plan to transplant some cuttings from the feral vines this year to Twa Corbies Hollow and see how they do. The spirits seem to withstand the intrusions though remain none too pleased with them.
Once I rode Aval up there a couple summers back. He’s a good horse and doesn’t wander. I unsaddled and was assessing deer spoor in the tall grass. Aval suddenly looked at the old house and took off galloping down the trail. I found him a quarter mile away, looking chagrined and waiting for me. He doesn’t like the old place. It even makes Willowisp nervous.