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The Fog Story

One foggy January morning, 35 years ago, three years after we moved to Maplewood Lodge, I walked down the long driveway to the road, to wait with our children; Brenda (5,) and Peter (7;) for the school bus.
The bus emerged from the fog and they climbed on board. I turned to walk back to the house. 

One minute the children's voices rang out--"Quick Brenda, get a kiss from Mommy," and, "Mommy, will you look after my snowball?" Then the whining hum of the bus driving off into the distance. Suddenly silence, hanging in the air. Palpable stillness.

There had been a light fall of snow the night before; enough to cover the trees and bushes with a magical new coat, but it was quite mild, and a mist hung all around the edges of the fields.

The hills that rose on the other side of the fields, were hidden, and in the quiet I was in a world at once timeless and peaceful.

From high in the misty treetops came the sound of birds chirping; the drip of snow melting from the rooftop; and occasionally a car whizzing by; intruders from the present, breaking the fragile spell.

I thought of my English childhood and my favourite foggy mornings there in the village, and how I felt securely blanketed in a world of cotton wool. It felt as though anything could happen; almost as if two worlds existed side by side. 

You could catch glimpses of the real world as you passed lighted shop windows or recognized friends or villagers on their way to school or work, but it all had a strange aura of unreality with sounds muffled so that they seemed to come from far away.

That was how it felt that long ago January morning. I looked across the fields, into the mist, at the beautiful land and the old farm house, and wondered about the family that had lived there for almost 200 years after carving a farm out of the wilderness.

What kind of people were Shadrach, Elizabeth and Lydia Stephens, and all the other Stephens's whose names I didn't know, but whose bones rested in the pioneer burial ground beneath the orchard?

I didn't know the answer and would never know. The house looked on enigmatically. It would keep its secrets, as it had for generations.

It was a morning of mist...and mystery.


Marilyn said…
I loved this post and your ponderings about the fog, Belinda.
Susan said…
Me too! Especially since my fog is lifting and things are stirring! :) I also loved the post about fog on your blog, Marilyn. If I may be so bold as to share the link...

You both touched my heart today in some deep places. Thank you, both!
Belinda said…
I loved getting your comments Marilyn and Susan. I was worried that people might think I'm lost in fog of late. I do love it though! :)
JoAnn said…
I love your posts and would like to add something about Shadrach and Elizabeth Stephens. When their daughter Ruby Ann Tunkey, died, and her husband disappeared (from official records), they not only arranged for her burial and monument, they also took in two of the Tunkey children. I think this illustrates that they were good people. I am especially interested because I am a direct descendant of Shadrach and Lydia, through their daughter Delilah.
Belinda said…
JoAnne, thank you so much for unveiling a little of the mystery of who the Stephens's were!

I hope you see Wednesday's photograph of the house. My daughter has a large aerial photograph that this small part was taken from. Maybe sometime you could see that as it shows the land as it was.

I am very pleased to meet you. Lynda B. mentioned you. It is so exciting to find this connection with someone whose ancestors were Stephens.
Brave Raven said…
Belinda, there is a book here. This house seemed to have a need to care for people. It attracted people to itself and made them family. Enjoying the stories you are telling on its behalf.
Susan said…
I've been telling her the same thing, B.R.!

Marie said…
This is very interesting stuff... I'm doing my family tree and Shadrich Stephens is a direct descendant. Thank you for sharing :)

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