For Ashley 🙂
There’s a cabin far back in the woods.
I used to visit it as a kid in the summer. It was hidden way back behind my parent’s house.
I don’t know how many times after my mom would make me lunch, I’d walk out the back door and head off for the cabin. I walked there so much I began to memorize the path to it. Every rock, every tree. The number of steps between the toppled oak tree and this little stream. I remember the smell of the woods too. The fresh pine and the pollen. The flowers painting the ground in all sorts of colors. I remember the warmth of the sun shining through the trees. The light falling through the leaves. The feel of the warm summer breeze rushing through. Hearing the leaves rustle above me and the sound of the dirt and twigs and grass under my sneakers.
Then I’d get to the cabin. It was abandoned, but I don’t know for how long or whose it was before. And I never wanted to ask my mom about it because I was afraid she wouldn’t have let me go back. It was a just a small, wooden cabin with a little chimney coming out of the roof. I can still hear the front door creak open as I walked inside and the sound of the floorboards under my feet. It didn’t have any working lights, but the sunlight that came through the windows would light up the inside, casting a soft, warm glow over everything. The whole cabin was about the size of my room at home. There was just enough space for a fireplace, an old cot and a wooden chest in the far corner.
It always had a smell of dust, smoke, leather, and wood. There was old, metal kitchenware near the fireplace and forgotten books stacked on a shelf above the cot. An old lantern hung near the door. An ax rested on its head in the corner opposite the chest. There was a small, wooden chair near the fireplace that I would always move next to the window when I went there to read. I loved reading in that cabin. Most times I would take my own books there, but sometimes I would read what the cabin had to offer (“White Fang” is still my favorite book). And I remember I would always place the chair back exactly where it was in front of the fireplace. To this day I don’t know why I bothered, but I always did.
That cabin always managed to feel like a friend to me. Like it always welcomed me back. It was always waiting. It was quiet and peaceful. My secret and my escape. For years, that cabin was always there for me. And how many summers and autumns and springs I spent in it. How it grew older with me. The cabin became a second home. A safe place. A place of comfort. Any problem I ever had, any issue, any pain, any thought, the cabin could make it go away. How can I ever really describe how that cabin makes me feel? What it makes me remember? The feelings I have for it?
But the cabin’s gone now.
As progress goes, someone bought the land and cleared that section of the woods, the cabin with it. It was like losing a part of me the day I found out. After then, for the longest time, I didn’t think anything could ever fill that part of me. That anything could replace the cabin. But I think I was wrong. The cabin is gone, but it turns out, it hasn’t really left me. It turns out it’s not so far away actually. Now, it’s amazing how easy it is to go back to it. How I can recall every step, every scent, every sound, every memory, every feeling so simply and so suddenly. How now everything the cabin meant to me can come rushing back when I least expect it.
I don’t get to go to the cabin anymore, but I still get to visit it…
I go there every time I’m with you.