Friday, September 14, 2012
The House on Roche Lake
It rose with stately grace above the treetops upon the hill; built to last through centuries with love and consumate skill.
It wore it's age with dignity and faded beauty still. There was a hush among the trees, a sense of quietude. I moved with slow and thoughtful steps; I hesitated to intrude
Abandoned many years ago, the ivy held it tight and drifted over windows to shield it from the light.
As I drew close I heard faint echoes of laughter and a children's song and for a sun warmed, fleeting moment I felt that I belonged.
I tried to climb more quickly to hear the tinkling tune but slipped on leaves and twigs and mossy tufts with which the steps were strewn.
I couldn't quite make out the words but knew they were for me; a little girl, exploring in the woods on Roche Lake Key.
I reached the top and breathed the scent of crimson roses, with brambles over-run,the few remaining blossoms still reaching for the sun. As I approached the terrace and absorbed the fragrant air I saw the flutter of a tattered flag still bravely flying there.
The house looked down and smiled on a scruffy little child and invited her inside to dream a little while.
It was shuttered, boarded and locked up tight but I found a little window, open just a mite. How that happened I cannot say . It was part of the magic of that special day.
I found myself in a large and dusty room but there was nothing to fear in the shadows and gloom.
There were just memories of laughter and love and sweet sunny days,
I felt them flow through me. I stood there, quite dazed, not concerned with reality, for childhood transcends. A plaque on the mantel read, "Welcome all Friends".
Just outside the glass doors I imagined two girls having a tea party, all giggles and curls.
A boy and a dog scampered in for a snack. Across the terrace a fisherman made his way back.
A lady reading in a comfortable chair, the sunlight playing on her silvery hair, lowered her book to gaze out at the lake and see colorful sails and glittering wake.
The happiest of times in passing vignettes; the house shared them all and I would never forget.
Why did they leave? I searched for a clue. The rooms did not speak to me as I passed through.
The mystery lingered the many times I returned. The house always embraced me,
It missed them, it yearned.
When I departed for home at summer's end, I promised myself I'd be back but knew not when.
Many years passed and I was full grown when I returned to Roche Lake, this time, on my own.
I strolled on the shore, enjoying the breeze and looked for the chimney tops up in the trees.
But the house was no more; destroyed to make way for the shiny and new. That's how we move forward; it's sad but it's true.
Nothing remained but steps to nowhere, I climbed them anyway. "Is that the fragrance of roses?" I asked, as my memory strayed.
I stood at the top under the tree dappled sky and saw something quiver like a trapped butterfly. A frayed scrap of silk clung to a twig, and brought tears welling up.
Why would I cry for a torn bit of rag? It was left for me as a keepsake from the old tattered flag.
I held it tight in my hand and whispered goodbye. As I ran down the steps I heard a soft sigh.