Going Home Again

March 30, 2007, 10:00 am; posted by
Filed under Articles, Josh J  | No Comments

One afternoon the three of us decided to set out on an expedition to rediscover one of our old forts. It had been two years since it had been in active use; we had moved on to new territory. Our reasons for the search are long since forgotten, if we ever had any. Maybe we thought we’d left something useful there, maybe we were on a greatest forts tour. Whatever the case, we headed to the campfire circle and out into the woods.

Not too far down the path we came across something that vaguely looked kind of like where the fort maybe should have been. But it couldn’t be; we vividly remembered it being much more impressive. So on we went.

As we got deeper into the woods, we began to wonder why it had never seemed to take this long to reach the fort before. But we couldn’t possibly have passed it yet. Surely we would recognize our own fort.

As we journeyed deeper into the brush, a tree branch knocked off my glasses. My surroundings became a blur. I can’t see anything without my glasses.

“What kind of bush is that?”

My brother’s question belied a greater uncertainty of our surroundings.

“Beats me. I can’t even see it.”

I adjusted my glasses as we trudged on. Directionless, we followed what paths we could find, blazing our own when none were found.

“I think we’re going in circles. Haven’t we already been here?”

“I don’t recognize anything.”

“Isn’t that the bush Matt asked you about?”

“It was kind of blurry. I can’t see anything without my glasses.”

We decided to try a different direction, in case we had indeed gone in circles. We struggled over new hills, still searching. It was, after all, a most excellent fort.

Soon we came upon what was unmistakably the bush we’d seen before (some of us twice). We were forced to accept that our fort was lost to us, and it was time to head home. We set out in the direction we were pretty sure was the opposite of how we’d originally approached the bush. No worries. We knew these woods.

A while later we came upon some markers — little orange flags atop three-foot wire-thin poles. These I had never seen before.

“I think those mark the boundaries of the property line,” explained Ricky. Ricky was the caretaker’s son. He would know of such things.

At this point a tinge of fear began to set in. We weren’t just walking in circles — we were lost. We’d never been lost before. What if we had to spend the night out there?? We didn’t have any food or equipment, or any survival skills for that matter. Even worse, we had informed no one of our mission. Even though we’d been out there an eternity, no one would know where to look when they noticed us gone, which was sure to be soon. Mom would be a wreck.

We figured we’d better stay on our side of the line, lest things get even worse. We followed it for a while, but predictably, it led to nothing familiar. So we set our course for the way we had come, near as we could figure. Wandering aimlessly, intermittently voicing worst-case scenarios and words of encouragement, we stumbled back across that blasted bush.

Only this time we found our way back to the campfire trail. Jubilant, we ran down the path and emerged from the woods like Lucy from the wardrobe. Arriving at our cabin, expecting to find worried parents, we instead were greeted by a clock that let us know we’d only been gone for an hour. We hadn’t even missed dinner.

We never bothered revisiting the spot, just a few feet down the campfire trail, where that shadow of our once-great fort lie, content to live with the legend of the fort that was swallowed up by the woods.


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