Saturday, September 11, 2010

(Not) Trespassing: Night Walk To The Abandoned Mansion

I never go out at night into the woods. Period. Except I did this time.
When I started out on my walk I had no real goal, the sun wasn't fully down and things seemed not too scary in the semi-dark. I had my crank lantern in my bag & a lara bar and felt like I could handle whatever excitement came my way. Till I heard that critter giggling at me from the dark behind some trees.... and remembered I had lost my knife, wasn't carrying a big stick and imagined myself having to kick off coyotes with my boots one by one like the BEAST in beauty and the beast's wolf scene (except I'd be saving my own ass.)
That dang laughing kept coming, making me think of hyenas (even though we have nothing of the sort in our forest), so I stepped up my pace and my thoughts drifted. It wasn't till I walked nearly a mile before I realized it wasn't giggling, it was a gobble of a turkey. In the dark, sounds aren't the same.
I saw through the trees the partly lit up abandoned mansion down the road... the one that is always closed up, empty, huge and intriguing. Only at night it's much more luring, more beautiful, less sterile then what the daylight reveals.
As I turned a corner and passed over a bridge I recalled hearing a story about the mansion and why it was always empty, yet somehow kept up - a story about a Wall St. rich man who went to jail.
I arrived at the gates, which seemed much bigger but less imposing at night - as someone who (never) trespasses all the time I am careful to read signs because I have (never) run into many electrified fence along route..... this one though just threatened to SMOOSH you to death if you dared to get in between it when it opens robotically. (see drawing)
I looked off to the left with my lantern light and found an unlocked smaller opening and walked right in....
Pushing my way through the pitch black, and turning my lantern off when a car passed along the road below- i first came upon not the mansion but the multi-car garage that seems like a mansion cause it is way bigger then my cabin! Snazzy.
Further along in the dark I got confused when the road unexpectedly split into two and I felt all turned around and dizzy over where i actually was and which way i was facing...
I approached a large log cabin only to realize it was not the mansion either, but a hidden house I had never known about. The wind was picking up, and there was lightning and thunder as I lifted my camera and the flash did a lightning storm of it's own.
(I did not realize there was a car parked out there till i saw the picture below, and lights were on in the cabin..... oops!)
I made a turn and kept trudging through the dark, using my light selectively. I moved along towards the big empty mansion as if it was a ghost frozen in time. Lightning would share a moment of clarification and then would be gone. The sound of the creek and waterfall in front the house was increasing into a deafening roar.
Wooden stairs led up to the deck. There is nothing more creepy-fied then a house no one ever lives at but the stairs are freshly swept free of most leaves and debris.
ALL the doors and windows of the ginormous cabin were covered, I mean like black out, shades pulled so tight no light could ever get in there from outside, how gross must it be inside there from no sun or ventilation... that kind of covered. I walked right past, towards the roaring water and the Sound Of Music Gazebo!
It felt really lonely in there... and ..... just wrong....
The street light they had installed was shining like some misplaced beacon of suburban light in the middle of nowhere - shining down on this unloved log mansion showing everyone it was empty, like some kind of flashing vacancy sign at a cheap motel. I don't think the city folk (who build these homes) have figured out that it's better if they(those who dont own your house) can't find ya (AKA, it gets so dark out here nobody wants to come near your house in the freakin' dark! It's too scary!)
The rumbles of thunder, gobbles of turkeys, tree limbs cracking in the wind, leaves littering the air and lightning showing bits of my surrounding were increasing into a climax and I decided to get the hec outta there....
I walked so fast through the dark holding my lantern I was sweating in the chilled wind and drizzle of rain - the sound of my own heavy breathing was beginning to even creep me out.
I made it back to my cozy little Luck Cabin just in time as a huge thunderstorm exploded from the blackness, I ran the last 40 feet to my front door being pelted by big hard raindrops wetting my already sweaty hair. A sigh of relief eveloped me to be at a place with heart, blankets, and my animals again. The signs of life.


Stephanie Rogers said...

Leslie, you are like a character in a novel and I love it.

Leslie's Gone Oko said...

Thanks Stephanie!
When there's nothing left to do, make something. :)