A lost dream
There was a pond a couple of hundred feet before me. Surely there was a spring feeding it close by, and I had begun to look and noticed something off in the distance that caught my eye. I saw it clearly through the high goldenrod deep in the valley beyond that pond called Boreas. A simple sturdy cabin, made of stone and cordwood. Behind it looming majestic, were the Gothics and Saddleback Mountains I had hoped to climb in the coming days. I was struck in wonderment and thought what a beautiful view to behold in any season. I was instantly drawn to this place.
The cabin had an inviting front porch with two rustic rocking chairs made from white cedar. The chairs were rocking slightly in the breeze as if ghosts were occupying them, watching over what may have once been their home. A large wide fireplace and chimney made of cobblestone and granite rose up one side of the cabin. I think winter would be most comfortable holding up inside this place. On the other end was a window, and below that window was a shelf, and on that shelf rested two freshly baked fruit pies cooling in the summer breeze. I thought of home and of my mother, and my grandmother, and my sisters, and of the pies they made together and how delicious their pies would be right about now.
To the right of the cabin lay a field of wildflowers, imaginative and endless in all its beauty. And, in one corner of that field of wildflowers were four sets of wooden boxes stacked three high. They were beehives for collecting honey, and honeybees were flying in and out of those boxes.
To the left sat a barn with an old rusty tractor sitting beside it under a rickety lean-to roof. A windmill-pump peeked up from between the cabin and the barn. It was missing a few blades and squeaked as it struggled to pump water into a trough sitting below a rusty spigot. I thought I would fill my water bottle at the windmill. A split timber fence surrounded the humble homestead. Two horses, a mare and a gelding ran chaotically back and forth within their confinement. The gelding stopped, stared at me, then shook his head and long mane. I think he was pleading for me to unlock the gate. He gave up, turned and ran to join the mare, and together they ran off to the water trough beneath the windmill to quench their thirst.
Further left of the barn was a garden guarded by a scarecrow made from old overalls, a ripped flannel shirt, and a straw hat. Corn and squash, tomatoes and carrots, and lettuce grew unmolested in the garden. Fruit trees of apple and pear stood along the ridge-line at the edge of the woods that ran along the back of the barn and cabin.
I walked closer in my yearning at the sight of this place. It was beautiful and meek, and it was calling me. I had to see more. But, as I made my way through a thicket of hobblebush and coming out the other side I saw the house and barn fade to nothingness as if it had been an illusion; a mirage. I was shaken. I looked around but could not find it. I could not see the gelding or the mare, nor did I hear the music of the off balanced windmill. Even the garden and fruit trees and field of wildflowers with its hard-working honeybees was no more.
There were two boulders that sat in the tall grass where the rocking chairs would have been on that alluring porch rocking lightly in the breeze. All that was left was the pond called Boreas. I hiked on bewildered in my thoughts and overcome at my loss.
I found the road into the Village of Keene and followed it up to the General Store. Walking in I greeted the proprietors, a man and woman working behind the counter. An old man was in the back getting a quart of beer out of the cooler. He was quiet in an apprehensive way. I told the man and woman behind the counter about the cabin I had found and suddenly lost. They looked at each other as if they had heard the same story before. The man deflecting my dilemma told me there was no such place in this valley, and that I was delusional, and only a couple of run-down hunting camps remained on that parcel. He then stared at the old man behind me with a beseeching look for him to tell me nothing. The old man looked down at his feet and remained silent.
The old man quickly paid for his beer and followed me out. He then stopped me in the parking lot, and without so much as a greeting right away began to mention that he too had seen that same cabin and the horses and all that I had described, some forty years ago when he had come from the city to hike this valley. He told me he had never gone back to where he came from and settled here to find his illusive desire. He seemed disturbed by what I had told the man and woman inside the general store. He seemed anxious for more information. He asked me if there was anything else I could tell him. But I had nothing I could recall.
He told me he had tasted the honey from the beehives that sat in the field of wildflowers and that it was the most superb honey he had ever had. But, when he had come within reach of the fruit pies on the cooling shelf below the window, that suddenly he felt lightheaded and everything began to swirl around him, and the house and the field of wildflowers and the barn and the horses just disappeared into thin air. The old man walked off sad. He did not even bid me well or say goodbye. He stopped, looked back at me and said, “forty years I have searched for this cabin, and all I have for it, is a lost dream.”