Today is the sort of rainy day where you just want to stay in bed and not bother with getting up. I’m fairly certain if I had a good book beside the bed, I would have just slept in and then read for a bit. Unfortunately, I finished the book I was reading and haven’t picked up another. And it is Tuesday. With a whole slate of things to do. But the thought was nice. This is the sort of weather you want on a lazy Saturday morning. But alas, it is not to be. So I suppose we had better get the day started. Ready for the morning writing prompt? Then Let’s go.
That wasn’t where I expected this to go. Of course now I want to know what the old lady was doing in the woods. So eventually I’ll have to come back an write this.
Tuesday, August 17th: The land before me was densely wooded.
The land before me was densely wooded. The trees were so thickly planted that there was little growth beneath them. The understory was clear, save for mushrooms that sprouted in clusters on the ground and consumed the fallen trees.
Despite, or maybe because of the denseness of the trees, the forest was relatively easy to walk through. It felt almost as though someone cleared a path for me. I knew that was untrue as no one had been this way for years. Not since she died.
The house was located on the back of the property. No one was ever entirely clear as to why grandmother wanted to relocate out into the cabin so far away from the main house. At some point she had. She packed up and moved herself out of the main house leaving the rest of the family to enjoy the estate. We were welcome to come visit her, but we rarely did. Mostly she visited us. There was a once a month standing appointment for Sunday dinner. The first Sunday of the month she would step out of the woods and into the more managed landscape surrounding the house.
She would join us for the big meal and listen to all of our stories, drinking in the details of our lives. She listened and asked questions, but deftly turned aside any questions put to her. As a child it didn’t bother me, after all I felt that my life was much more exciting. After all, what could she do sitting in a cabin in the middle of nowhere? It was only as I grew older that I began to wonder.
One Sunday she came out of the woods. She told us her things were in order, the cabin was secured and that she wouldn’t be going back. As my mother ordered one of the guest rooms set up and everyone proclaimed their joy at having her return. She smiled and settled into one of the chairs. She closed her eyes and never opened them again. An ambulance was called, because that was what one did. However it was too late. We all knew it was too late.
Afterwards no one went to the house. In the gathering after the funeral it was mentioned that it was a blessing that she went so quickly and that she was never in need of care. I believe someone commented about it being nice that she could die at home. The cabin wasn’t mentioned and no one, to my knowledge, ever went out there.
Even on my few trips home as I grew older and moved away, there were always more pressing concerns and indeed the cabin was mostly forgotten. Even when my parents passed on and the estate came to me, I didn’t really think about it. There was my own life to deal with, my own wife and kids to deal with. The little cabin in the woods never really entered my consciousness.
Until now. There was a spate of break ins and when I talked to those I knew in town it was suspected that whoever was at the center of it found someplace out of the way to hide out. For an instant, my thoughts flashed on the cabin. I mentioned it and the fact that I didn’t even know it was standing. As the sheriff was within earshot and had spent the past week searching every empty house, barn and shed in town, he walked over. He hadn’t known of the cabin and asked to take a look.
“I don’t know if it is still standing, but you are welcome to take a look,” I told him. And now, I could hear his footfalls, soft on the ground behind me as we made our way into the woods.