It sits way off the road, so far you cannot see it. Even the driveway is almost gone, erosion has scuttled it away. Where there was garden and yard, the scruff has grown in such a way to wall this house off, my world exists in a different plane from the landscape of the Meridian House. Walking back to it, the autumn winds kick up like pheasants in the underbrush, the bony branches clack their dry fingers and rattle their talismans trying to ward me off. I know it’s back there, I want to see, I need to know about the house, about the secrets it holds close.
It’s easy enough to parse the scrub to make my way in; stepping through, into the clearing, the thick quiet becomes overwhelming. That autumn wind does not follow, the trees inside do not stir. This is another world, this is a sacred place that has slowed time to keep their secrets. Once there was a family here, a farm, folks that had stories to tell. Here they planted and prospered, tended to lives I will never know. Now, shards jut from the Earth, haphazard monuments to ghosts that no longer roam.
They were here, generations from the look of it, then one day they simply were not. This scruffy section of land, sits on a side corner of a huge corporate farm. Tucked into a small depression, invisible to anywhere passed the hill. I look, but find no evidence people have come here, no vandalism or graffiti, not tracks, or trash. This really does feel like I’ve crossed over to an alternate universe. I find odd stuff when I go looking into abandoned places. A lot of times it seems like they left in a rush. Here, in this Meridian, it’s as though they just evaporated midday. One door is kicked in. Toys and books are left right near the kid’s bedroom door. And shoes, 3 single, lone, shoes between the barn and the house. How do you leave with only one shoe?
I dig and look and shoot. I spend the day with them, even eating lunch hoping to hear their voices, catch a shadow, whisper a secret only I will here. I spend my time with this empty spot. I’m thankful for the peace, the windless bit of warmth in the breadth of the coming winter cold. I want to know who, and why, I want to know that they touched lives and had happiness of their own. I want to know they had a dream or two that was fulfilled. But there are only questions, unanswered cries by spirits long since forgot.
Weeks passed, months piled up, I never looked back at the photos. The lack of answers, the secret cove with no treasure, the abject loss memory, it rankled me. I left feeling empty, wondering if one day I’ll not even be a memory, but just a series of hints that I walked here. Maybe that’s good enough, all we get from being here… knowing that I am alive. Maybe digging into a house tucked into the earth isn’t meant to offer me answers, maybe the trees had a warning I should have heeded. There is just this moment, just this place, where I am now.