Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: SEA CHANGE or TREE CHANGE (07/13/17)
TITLE: The Secret Cabin
By Leola Ogle
LEAVE COMMENT ON ARTICLE
SEND A PRIVATE COMMENT
ADD TO MY FAVORITES
Beneath the embers a sapling lived. It grew to gigantic proportions as other trees and vegetation sprouted and thrived. No one would witness the destruction of the fire or the resilience of the forest to restore itself.
An earthquake, a wrenching of the plates under the earth’s surface, pushed trees and land upward. The great tree rose, then settled. For centuries its branches spread and reached to the sky. Birds made their nests there. Bears stood and scratched their backs on its bark. Deer, badgers, squirrels, wolves, foxes, and other forest critters traveled beneath it on their way to the creek a mile away. The wind sang through its branches. The sun, rain, and snow caressed its pine needles.
In the 1950’s, John Jackson fled the city. Being passed over for a promotion he justly deserved, he turned to alcohol. He left his high-stress executive job. He left his wife and baby daughter. Or, the truth was, they left him.
At thirty-five years old, he took his ulcers and heart palpitations, and disappeared into the dense forest. He wasn’t the first of the Jackson men to discover the great tree hidden deep in the forest. In 1850 his great-great grandfather, James, was on his way west seeking a fortune in the California gold rush. When his wife and baby daughter got sick, he was forced to leave the wagon train and make camp for the winter.
“Get far from the trail,” the wagon master told James. “You’ll be safe from varmints and villains.”
James found the great tree. He felled logs to make rudimentary walls and threw the wagon tarp over the top. By the time winter was over, he had buried his wife and daughter beneath the great tree. He and ten-year-old Ezra left to make their fortune in gold.
Before James passed, he and Ezra journeyed back to the great tree, getting lost several times in the dense foliage and rocky path. The log walls were still standing. James made small crosses to mark the graves.
Ezra returned as an adult running from a sheriff’s posse. He stayed for a year until he felt it safe to return to civilization. Several years later to took his teenage son, Seth. They added an addition to the cabin, built a hearth, and added a roof.
On the last day, Seth attempted to climb the great tree, but fell and sprained his wrist. Seth howled and kicked the trunk of the tree. “Stupid tree. I’ll come back someday and cut you down and build a big cabin.”
A gust of wind whistled through the tree’s branches, swooping down to snatch Seth’s hat off his head. The boy snarled, grabbing his hat off the ground with his good hand. “I hate you, tree.”
In the early 1900’s, Seth returned with his two sons. “No one knows about this place. It’s our family’s secret.” he told Levi and Abe. “Your great grandmother and great aunt are buried here.”
Standing under the great tree, Seth gazed up through the branches, feeling a kinship with the tree. He told his sons the story of the area as it had been told to him. Abe was unimpressed. “I hate it. It was too hard to climb and get here, especially hauling all the stuff with us.”
Levi was awestruck. “This is awesome. Hurry, Dad. Let’s get busy putting windows in. And a new door.”
Abe grunted and kicked the trunk of the great tree.
They stayed for a week doing repairs and additions. Even with all they accomplished, it was still a primitive cabin. For Levi and Seth, it held intrigue. They felt connected to this place.
Seth and Abe never returned to the cabin. Levi went a month before his wedding. Someone had found the cabin and left garbage. Whiskey bottles. A dead raccoon. But, it wasn’t destroyed.
Levi felt sad. Violated. They didn’t own the land, so there was nothing he could do. Later, he would bring his son, John, there. Levi stood under the great tree with John. He imagined the tree held many secrets of the forest.
What he never imagined was that his son, John, would flee there to escape life. Old Levi joined John there, spending a week before bringing his son home.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior Right Now - CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.