After I picked up Naima and Khadeja, we went home and took a nap. I fell into a vivid dream with Gage and I canoeing in the lake above the dam. Our canoe tipped over before the falls and we both fell out of the canoe. Neither of us were wearing life preservers, and we both perished as we rolled over the dam and got sucked into the undertow. Dr Charlie was called, but he didn’t come fast enough because he was out on a house call. He never forgave himself for not being there to rescue us. No matter how real it seemed, it was only a dream.
I woke up dripping wet with sweat. I quietly tiptoed to the bathroom to take a shower. I didn’t want to wake the girls. The hot, humid weather got the best of both of them and they needed to sleep it off. The cool water felt nice cascading over my heated body. I let my mind wander 12 years into my past.
Ivy Lodge was the closest thing to home I had ever known as an adult, even though I didn’t own it. The inside being roomy, filled with wood and stone in the lower level. I loved the family insignia engraved into the stone fireplace. Each time I would walk past it, I would run my hand over it and remind myself that we all have a story to be told.
The upstairs level was more refined and polished, painted mostly in white. There was another fireplace on the second level, but it was such a mess to haul wood and burn inside the stark white interior, I only did that once. I wondered how Edith and Alice handled the soot mess, but figured they had a few servants who were willing to take care of it.
There was domed bathroom ceiling in which Dr. Charlie or his son Chuck, painted depicting different parts of the brain.It always humored me to imagine someone sitting on the toilet contemplating and studying brain surgery!
My bedroom walls were painted in the most calming robin’s egg blue. It was my favorite room in the house. There were dutch doors in the bedroom, and the kids loved peeking over the top while playing hide and seek. The kitchen had a 6 burner stove, which was unheard of back in the days. All of the appliances had been upgraded in the 50’s or 60’s, but was still way ahead of the day. The house was divided up into 3 rental units. We also had a couple of neighbors living in the little cottage, and a few apartments above the garages.
The house was magnificent, but the grounds around the house were purely magical. I would wake up and take the girls down to the path by the river. We would pick blue bell flowers, explore the river banks, and enjoy the wonders of nature all around us. There was a small stream that ran right in front of the lodge. On hot summer days, we spent most of our time playing in the stream water. The house was too old and didn’t have a modern AC unit. Even if it did, I wouldn’t have used it.
When I was blessed with a few hours to myself, I would hike up the southern hill and follow the Zumbro river’s edge until reaching Dr. Charlie’s abandoned cabin. There were signs of vandalism, and remnants of broken old medicine bottles everywhere. There were rusty old nails sticking out of the walls and ground. It was not a very safe place to be, but exciting and interesting none the less. I liked to sit there sometimes and imagine what it looked like years ago. I would wonder what kind of thoughts Dr. Charlie had out here. I assume he didn’t think much at all at his old cabin, but just enjoyed the sounds of the animals, birds and the river running lazy. It was easy to lose track of linear time in the peaceful silence of the woods.
The girls loved Ivy Lodge. They tried to climb every tree on the property. My favorite picture of them together is in their favorite tree with their stuffed monkey. Thinking about that picture brought a warm smile to my face. They spent hours outside climbing on the two stone lions in front of the house, which fiercely protected us always. I wondered if our lions were missing us as much as I missed them. I wished to go back to that time of magic, freedom and peace in nature.
As I was enjoying my trip to the past, my little Deeja woke up and my time alone was done for the day. I put both girls in the cool shower, and then we packed up to spend the rest of the day and night lounging at the local pool.
It was nice to be at the pool, but my mind kept rehearsing the dream. I wondered if it meant anything, or if I should tell Gage about it. Little snippets of memories of the woods, the lake, the river, would pop in and out of my mind. The visions of the white owls spreading their wings down the hidden paths, the little chipmunk that thought he paid rent to live with us, the fawns that would creep up to the bedroom window and wake us from our daily naps, all played endlessly in my mind for the rest of the day.
I was excited to share with Gage the bridge, the dam, the river, the hidden paths, and all of the wonders I had discovered at Ivy Lodge more than a decade before. Since moving downtown, I had only driven out to the country twice. Both times, the property was for sale, and it broke my heart.
I felt I belonged there, but never had the means to care for the entire property properly. It was easier for me to forget about it, than to hold so tightly to the memories. Maybe that’s why Gage said “Nobody cares about history anymore.” I thought about it, but didn’t come up with any clear answers other than it was painful to re-live even the best of memories.
The first time I went back to Ivy Lodge the old round stone barn had been torn down. After a certain amount of time and neglect, there is no choice but to demolish certain things. Time errodes that which has been forgotten, this is a fact of life. I remembered the mushroom house where I would meditate before going to in the summer time. I never found out what it’s true purpose was. I figured it was for cold storage. I was fascinated how the water would run down the sides of the walls and pool in a circular fashion surrounding the center of where I would sit. It technically wasn’t on the Ivy Lodge property, but I claimed it as a personal treasure anyway. I was hoping it was still standing so I could show Gage.
I wanted to introduce him to Ivy Lodge before the Big House. History is linear like that. You have to know where you came from in order to know where you are headed. I couldn’t wait to show Gage what his great-great grandfather had created and left behind. I figured he had seen pictures of Mayowood on the internet, but it would never compare with actually putting your feet on the ground and feeling the energy and freshness of life. There are simply magical places in this world, and Mayowood happens to be one of them.