The Overgrown Home Down-back

The other day, like most days Bennie and I were down back walking on the old dirt road. It was one of those overcast days, where a chill wind was out of the North and the leaves were falling off the trees like snowflakes dancing around our heads.

It is only October, but that day there was a chill in the air.

We had walked down to the old cranberry bog and while foliage was at its peak last week, the views of the cattails and the trees behind them was still one of those that I savor each time we walk down that way.

On the way back home, I was off in some other world, thinking about what I wanted to write about next and we passed what I call the lower gate.

About twenty feet past I stopped.

I had no idea why.

However, I had this feeling that I had to go up there. It was almost as though something was beckoning us to go through the lower gate and up the old drive.

I haven’t been up there in years. 

TheWife and I used to explore the woods around our home and this was one of those areas we rambled through times. Over the course of our explorations we have found several old house foundations, unkempt graveyards and forgotten roads lined by rock walls. Those signs of human occupation that date at least back to the 1840s if some of the tombstones were any indicator. But I tend to think that this house was built in the mid 1800s and from what I understand burnt sometime after World War I.

For whatever reason, it was never rebuilt, despite it being a wonderful homestead site.

Since I have started writing more again, I am finding that I seem to be more in tune with the world around me and notice subtle things that in the past I either ignored or overlooked. I felt as though I was supposed to go visit the old foundation that I know is at the end of the road behind the lower gate.

As we walked up the old way, four crows came cawing in. They perched in the trees about halfway up the drive and acted like they were announcing that we were coming by cawing and carrying on. Off in the distance I could hear a couple of blue jays and some squirrels chattering away.

Then they flew up ahead of us to the trees that now surround the old foundation. The other sounds of the forest seemed fade away to quietness, not silence, just quiet. The crows were quietly watching us from the trees. No, I wasn’t creeped out by the crows being there, actually I sort of felt more at ease once they arrived.

Although I knew exactly where the old foundation was, it is getting more difficult to find, it has gotten so overgrown. If you didn’t know it was there, you could walk right by and never know the difference.

I took several photos of the old foundation and had to try a few different places to get the photograph below. Bennie and I wandered around, while the crows were in the tree watching us. I didn’t see or find anything out of the ordinary and no, none of the crows came down to the ground and pointed out something that I should see or pick-up either.

It was simply peaceful and quiet.

As I was leaving the site, I looked back and the crows were still in the trees, but they were still quiet and watching us leave.

I stopped at the end of the driveway and looked down towards the road. There was an old apple tree on the side, it was probably there when people were living here.

Which got me to thinking:

Was this a happy home?

How many families lived here? I know that life wasn’t easy, but did they have a good life for the period? What was their life like compared to our life? Did they lose loved ones in the Civil War or other wars until the house did burn? And all those many questions that we have about how those who came before us lived.

From the feeling that I got while we were standing there and the other times I have been to this place. I tend to believe that it was a good home and the people who lived there had good, but hard lives – at least by our standards. Where they worked the land, respected it and regretted leaving it when it was their time.

Some of the other foundations we have found have a malevolent feeling about them, but not this one. This is one where I would take children and let them run around to have fun and see what they could find.

As we walked back down the drive a couple of squirrels were running across the drive and bounded off into the trees chattering at us, it felt so peaceful. I turned and looked back at where the old foundation was and in my mind’s eye, I attempted to “see” the old home as it was. I also know there were other outbuildings because we found their foundations as well in our previous explorations and the below drawing was how I saw it.

I am not an artist by any stretch of the imagination, but it seems right to me when I look at it.

What happened that they didn’t want to rebuild after the fire? I have a feeling that I will never know the reason for this home and the many other foundations in the area that have been reclaimed by Mother Nature.

As I walked back down the driveway, I felt an overwhelming sense of sadness surround me and yes, a tear might have rolled down my cheek. 

I also got the feeling that they were proud of their home.

Notice I called it a home. That is the impression that I got – it was their home.

No, this is not one of those everyday occurrences that happen to me, by any stretch of the imagination. Yet, every so often something weird like this happens and I go with the feeling to see where it leads. Sometimes it does lead to some weird stuff.

The strange thing was Bennie, he was calm the whole time we were up there and that is not like him at all. Usually, he lives up to his breed – a long-legged, a super, hyper Jack Russell Terrier and is all over the place. He was very subdued and well-mannered for him. 

Then the strangest thing happened as we were turning back onto the road. I looked back because the four crows were cawing and saw them fly down the driveway, flew over our heads and turned to go up the hill ahead of us. winging their way silently over the road. Bennie and I stood there and watched them fly up the hill until they were out of sight.

I thought it was strange that they flew down the driveway and then up the road instead of flying over the trees???

Then Bennie looked at me as if to say, “It’s time to go home” and we started off up the hill. He perked up and wanted to play tug-o-war with the leash, barked at an old truck going by and generally getting back to being his usual Jack Russell self.

Although as we walked off, did take one final look back at the old driveway and smiled. I had the feeling that their life wasn’t a bad one for their time.

It is said that in October, the veil between worlds becomes thinner and things we can’t really explain happen more often. Perhaps that is what happened the other day or else my overactive imagination kicked in – again. But…the way that the crows acted was very out of character compared their usual behaviors.

I don’t know…but when I think back on what happened the other day, I find myself smiling.

How about you do you have strange things happen and follow your instinct around them?


  1. How wonderful. I can feel so much emotion in this post…almost like I was walking with you and Bennie. You paint a beautiful picture. It touched me, when you had the feeling of “home”, and not just a house. There’s an energy lingering, and you felt it. What a gift. Those who resided there live on. The history lives on, not through structure, per say, but emotion. I agree…it was probably a happy home. The wildlife knows, and I believe they are much more in-tune than we are.

    Liked by 1 person

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