The Woods are always shrouded in mystery. Even though I like to explore them, alone, for this trip, I invited my friend, Isaac.
After Isaac, learned about my night walks, he asked if he could tag along. On an unusually warm walk, we started our trek down the trail and into the woods.
Typically, I enjoy my time alone. It gives me time to recharge and not feel compelled to fill the silence. I like silence, it gives me space to think. Isaac is the type to understand that silence doesn’t need to be filled constantly. Silence is already loud enough, it does not need to be shared with idle chitter.
Today, the humidity was thick. I felt my hair frizz with each step we took into the woods. I tried to wipe the layer of moisture from my cheeks, but it still felt like I had a second layer of skin. The leaves crunched beneath my feet and the moon shined like a scuffed spoon through the trees and clouds above me. The new company I had was peaceful. Even though I liked to be alone, it was nice to have Isaac with me.
When Isaac asked if he could come, he told me he wanted to see the Underground Railroad Tree.
“Of course!” I chirped. I didn’t tell him I had never been able to find The Tree in the dark.
The Underground Railroad Tree is a tree that was not used as a marker, but bore witness to the intrepid escapes and adventures that took place in the pursuit of freedom. The energy surrounding the tree is magnetic. There is no way to explain the energy. This tulip poplar is over 300 years old. When the tree was a sapling, King George I was the King of England.
I’ve guided many of my friends to The Tree. I’ve shown my sister and my family The Tree at their request. Before that, a friend had shown and shared her own adventures. Even though The Tree is old and viewed by many as a historical landmark, I think the less important stories, like my friend’s personal anecdotes, are just as interesting. I wish that it could talk so I could hear the small stories, as well as the big ones.
I think stories like my friend’s are important to hear. They represent a different kind of adventure. Stories like her’s build a bildungsroman that she can tell to her children, so they can pursue an adventure of their own. An intrepid charge into adulthood and learning to leave who you once were is exciting. It gives you a chance to shed old skin and become a new person.
When I visit The Tree, I’m extra careful to be gentle to the land around me. I’ve heard many stories about the spirits and ghosts that roam in the dense woods. I’ve never believed in ghosts, but if they were any, they would be near The Tree.
I think it’s worth mentioning that ghosts do not have to be people. They can be stories and experiences, legends and whispers.
One day, I hope that the secrets are shared with me, or maybe, I will create my own. Today, though, I’ll start by creating memories on my walk with Isaac.