I have always loved searching and watching for the mystery within my journeys of abandoned places, rural haunts, forests and the things left behind.
Many of these hidden moments are shrouded in stillness, so one must listen and watch, carefully, for the ‘lost story’ among the ruins. Some objects stand out, among the clutter, as if shining to be seen…the many sounds, seasons and light cast a mood upon the awareness and reflection of your mystery.
This is one such story about a happening, a music box in the attic, tinkling a tune. Perhaps, set forth by the hand of some spirit…through time.
This journey, finds me in Meade County, Kentucky by the Ohio River. One Autumn day, as I was driving on back country roads searching for the past…
As I came around the tight bend of a country road, there in dried weeds and wildflowers, stood the old clapboard of the Music Box spirit house…as I chose to name it. I parked my truck under a large oak tree, still hanging on to its glory, through time, storm and itself.
The air felt crisp, like biting into a tart apple. The late afternoon sun was pleasurable upon my skin, especially coming from the shadowed places.
As all of my searching for lost things and stories go, I know the time is brief to capture what I may, before I have to go. I sometimes come back to a particular place…sometimes through the years I have visited often, finding the same things, just rearranged differently. Always there but telling a new story.
Sometimes, I come back and the whole place is gone, except for the trees…
I look for what I can, I feel it is important to watch and capture these images and stories to share with you…I can always sense there is some story that must be told. Must be shared.
Some abandoned places call to me stronger than others. I do not know why, I just know that it is so. I walk up to the side and look at the old, blistered white paint. It is like powder, now barely set on the wood boards.
It is a particular quiet late Autumn afternoon. Not a car in sight or in sound, as I walk up to the rickety porch. I look in through the door, my line of sight following the sun rays as it lights the staircase before me. Shadows live on the upper steps, like they have been there a long time.
I look, as I listen for creaking wood and weak spots, entering the house I stand quietly, always quiet, just taking it in before I explore what is left behind. I see a small, brown nest of leaves, twig and grass perched upon a door sill. it even looks abandoned…
I step softly, climbing the steps, the only sound comes from wood not stepped upon lately…then I hear the faintest tinkling of sound. A sound that is old, a music box tune of long ago. I can say with much assuredness, every muscle was taught and I kept in my place upon the 4th step, no lower, no higher. I have a story from each special place I have been I can recall to this day. There is none like this moment.
I could not even hear my breathing, for fear I would scare this sound away. I waited and listened to the tune. It was soft, dreamy and nearby. It was in the attic of the house, where I was going. I finally called out strong, “Is anyone here? I am just exploring the old house, can you hear me?” I repeated this a few times to no answer, just the incredible quiet of the house and its surroundings. The first thing I thought is I would go back down to see if a church was nearby and a bell tower was making this tune, as some do. I knew it was not this, for there was not anything close by and it was coming from the upper floor.
The music continued for a couple of minutes and then stopped… I finally decided to move up the steps carefully to peer above onto the upper floor and see what mystery was waiting for me. I was hesitant as I lifted my head above the top step to view the cluttered floorboards of the attic. It looked like any old attic with stored wood boards on the floor, clothing clutter, old cards and letters. There was a broom stuck inside the wall, setting it horizontally out as if by a strong wind. This was odd, more interesting were the two dark attic door openings on either side of the room. I figured the music was coming from one of these areas.
I have a very searching and curious nature for truth and answers…I looked at these dark attic openings for a few minutes and I can say I did not feel compelled to explore them. I called out one last time, no sound and I mean no sound at all. I did not hear a breath of wind or car or bird. I descended the steps and accepted that serene moment with the music box music, as a gift. I wish I could understand more but that is all I received, And it was enough, somehow. The message, I feel, was this house held life and energy, once and perhaps it just wanted me to know that.
2018 (c.) Tommie Flannery Baskis Duskflyer Vision Art & Productions