A Haunted House

This morning I awoke in my bedroom at our family cabin with one thing on my mind, a walk through this sleepy mountain town. I warmed up with a cup of my favorite tea before heading outdoors.

I remember, long before we had a cabin up here the mountains, how my parents would slowly drive through this tiny town and dream about what our own cabin would look like. We would slowly crawl through the neighborhood in my dad’s truck, past the quaint little chapel, and other houses dating back to the mid 1800’s.

I wasn’t dreaming about a cabin of our own though, I was dreaming about the lives lived in this sleepy town before I arrived. I would look at the charming Mormon pioneer-era homes that had been restored into family cabins and handed down through generations; and I would wonder about the first family that lived there. Where had they come from? How far had they trekked before they reached the beautiful valley that stretched between these tall mountains?

I walked down random roads, the only sound was the crunch of my trainers hitting the gravel and the faint rushing of wind sifting through tall trees. Any other place in the world, silence such as this would eerily beat on my ears until my solitude felt like loneliness, but here I felt more present – more human – than I had in months.

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I said hello to three beautiful horses who were grazing in a large pasture. They cautiously watched me approach, then stood silent and still as I retreated.

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Some cabins have been long abandoned. I imagine they were passed down for generations in a family who is no longer interested in weekends spent on this mountain. This particular cabin stood on a large plot of property. The old 1800’s windows still waved and warped where they weren’t gone entirely – replaced by large, gaping, black holes. I could easily see inside the home. It was empty of furniture except for an old and weathered sofa on the front porch; yet, long shadows fell across the walls and floor, alluding to something ominous still inside. The wood fence was the only barrier restraining me from going inside. I feared I would send it crashing down by opening the gate. I guess – old and deteriorated as it was – the fence was still carrying out it’s duty of guarding against intruders.

Slowly walking slightly closer, I thought of Edgar Allan Poe’s poem The Raven:

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
Only this and nothing more.”

I imagined that my mum would like this house and that we’d walk here together later. We would talk about the family who would’ve lived there and the ghosts that haunt there still. That is the treasure of having a mother who loves a good thrill, she has always encouraged me to make up stories, to see past the exterior and imagine what the story would look like from the other side.

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Satisfied with my walk, I turned back down the gravel road toward our own cabin. As I set off in that direction, a single crow cried out and took flight over the spans of neglected property.

Our cabin, with its 1960’s vibe, leant a happier tune as I opened the gate and ascended up the walk. The thick smell of wood burning fire greeted me and another cool breeze slipped down the back of my neck. Content, I took another deep breath of crisp mountain air, walked inside, and made myself yet another cup of tea.

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