Photo Linda Seccaspina
The tree house had been in the woods so long no one remembers it anymore. As cars drive down the big box store collector lane the only way you know that children of the past have used it is in the Spring or Fall when the tree is naked. There are fragments of crudely built stairs and nails on the trunk that have long gone rusty, and amazingly the developer spared it when they created the box store. But the feeling is still there that someone stills belongs to this tree and tries to protect it. When the leaves accents the tree and the weather is warm there is peace, but the minute a chill comes into the air there is a looming presence in the surrounding area.
Every day a lone man with a long stained trench coat wanders the area near the tree. He speaks to few except to ask for a light for the occasional butts he finds in the parking lot. At night he seems to come out of nowhere and stands under a light for a moment or two and then goes and sits in the shadows of another building. One night I watched him while I waited outside and he almost floated across the vast parking lot looking at empty carts and garbage cans for anything he might use. As he slipped in the shadows I drove past and one minute he was there, and the next he was not.
Others have reported seeing the same gentleman rising from the mist on the edge of the woods. I often wonder if he just hangs around to check on the tree and relive memories of hanging out with friends as a child. Really, you can’t call it spooky or creepy unless some night you look out your rear window and see a mysterious face staring back at you from behind the tree. Some say he is part of that old tree that sits barely 1000 feet off the rural town boulevard, and if you ever cut the tree down, his silhouette would probably be inside that tree.