Thursday, March 13, 2008
Just south of Hughesville is an old, decaying house. It looks like a ghost haunt, but the only spirits I met there were birds. They flitted among the brown grass as I crossed the sun-set field. In the brightness of early evening I wondered, “Why is this place empty? How many neighborhood kids have lingered on these broken steps, dreaming ghosts and double-dares?” The instant I crossed the threshold the old house groaned. Ten dozen sparrows leaped into the air, shouting among the bare rafters. I stood a moment as silence returned, gazing at the stripped wood through my camera lens. Before I could capture images of my brave trespass into forgotten space, the camera beeped once and the battery died. I turned slowly back toward the bright doorway and the song-filled fields beyond. The house moaned a second time, like an old woman asking one last moment of companionship before nightfall.