Crows pick at the gravel, clearing the incidental dry orange leaf to better the search. A fallen sign, one leg-like post reduced to a splintered mess, reads "LOTS FOR SALE" in sun-faded lettering. The contact information, had there been any, has long ago worn away. The words strike a bitter irony, though, as I survey the area, for indeed there is much on offer on this wild plot of land. Several different kinds of tree grow here, though I can only identify the oak and a handful of firs. The rich, dark soil looks good for growing. I tromp through overgrown weeds and scratchy high grasses. I feel like an explorer out of time. The ruined sign adds a visible reminder of decay to an otherwise verdant near-wilderness, and had it not been there I could have imagined I was a settler of old, picking a place to plant my homestead.
Beyond the sign, in what would be the rear of the property, a low circle of piled stone supports several mossy planks. I approach and the air grows a little cooler on the skin, and the smell of clear water cuts through the prevailing odor of dry brush. A quick stab of fear lances through me, and I recall all the suspenseful moments from films where a well had hidden some great evil, or trapped some errant child. Then it passes, and I slide the planks aside to expose a dark hole in the earth. Several small insects crawl up over the edges of the separated planks, and vanish into the foliage. I've forgotten my flashlight in the truck, but I peer into the hole nonetheless. I consider dropping a stone down, then think the better of it. No need to risk dirtying the water.
"Or disturb what evil lurks below," I whisper to myself, and laugh. I push the planks back to their original position and stretch, my fingertips rising to meet the last rays of the autumn evening. Yes, I think. This place will do just fine.
2014.08.10 – 2023.04.09