Away from the other campers, away from the raucous day-trippers who break pertinent rules and regulations, we choose a path we've traveled before. Once an apple orchard, or colonial Moravian farmstead with boundaries created by stones piled upon stones, then additional wooden fences rotted away leaving rusted wire growing into trees that haven't died or fallen, remnants of marked territory, as if the silence and the space was not enough.
No recent litter here to disturb the sleeping ancient scraps of coiled bed springs, broken car parts, old farm machinery, jagged dishes, rusted pots and pans sprouting up like unseasonal acorns or wild mushrooms amidst the moss and glacial erratics. Under swaying leafless trees, hawks and dark crows, life was once lived here; forgotten foundations and bricks joined forever with mortar whispering, people lived and died here. Their ways were different but the essentials of fire and food, warmth and laughter, anger and kindness linger in the lyrical water tumbling downhill over rocks and tree roots; the perpetual wordless rush and rhythm of water splashing, touching stone, on its way to another place, another time.
The possible phantoms of Native American children, early settlers, and woodland animals all sharing this place sometime in the past float above and along the delicate edges where dry meets wet, safety meets danger. This day, each of us sees and is thinking of something entirely different as we walk; the air almost thunderous with our thoughts, then as the Earth turns and sun sets, we choose a different path back. Quietness comes as our scattered thoughts coalesce, overlapping, uniting in a way no words can describe. Through thorns, brambles and bittersweet vines, each of us carries back a private bag of memories. Memories of walking-- old path, new path.