The crash site is on route 45 west of Lewisburg near the Hairy John Picnic Area in the Woodward Narrows. The Midstate Trail runs right next to the picnic area. I have hiked the Midtstate Trail several times at the same spot. I take Toby with me. We have seen turkeys, deer, and giant rattlesnakes. We walked one summer day along the trail and saw a little branch of leaves turning red in August, the first sign of the impending autumn.
Last summer, Miles, Connor, and I walked a different part of the Midstate Trail. Miles spotted a little tiny snake. I walked right by it and did not even notice it, but Miles saw it. The three of us had a nice walk and conversation late in the afternoon. We left after I got off work and went up there real fast just to get a short hike in. Miles was always ready to get up and go.
Hairy John was a hermit who lived in the forest near what is now the picnic area. He lived near the pond where he fished. I do not know much about Hairy John. He is a local legend, but he is no longer known very well so many years after his death.
I imagine there are spirits sometimes. I imagine the Totoros in the forest and the energy of many unknown people and animals over the millennia who have walked the road before it was a road, drew water from the pond, or stopped nearby for the night on a journey into the woods. Indians and explorers. Settlers and runaways. A truck driver who died at the same spot on route 45. It is an idle fantasy. It is where my mind goes. I know it’s not real. But I imagine Miles and Hairy John sitting down to chat by his fire and tell stories, swap ideas, share memories.
It’s not real. It’s just imagination and it’s something small I can pretend is real.