The rain has turned to snow out side; falling fast and wet. I put my daughter to bed tonight and opened the curtains to let in the street lamp light so she could watch the snow fall. It’s so peaceful, the snow. I pretend we are in a car that lost its way in a blizzard. People lose their way in blizzards on the back roads of Barnes Corners every winter. Sometimes the cars sit there, buried in that frozen tundra, until the spring thaw uncovers them. In my imagination the car slides off the road on a patch of black ice into a ravine. The tracks quickly covered by the fast falling snow, the car quiet in the dark, resting between pines. The snow buries the car softly, weightless, if it muffles the howling wind and there is silence. I hold my daughter tight and face what scares me most, the silence, wounded by the silence. I listen to her breath. I embrace the silence. When they find us in the spring we have been reborn into strange new creatures. We are different now. Nothing scares us now. We come back from the dead to tell the whole world our secret. We are each others arms and spine. We hold each others hands. To leave each other would be agony. There is no reason to leave, there is nothing out there that must be found anymore. Everything has been unearthed, discovered, known. We smile knowingly at each other…. others marvel at us. It can not be believed. They ask, “What happened up there on that Plateau? How did you survive? Do you speak English?” But we don’t need to speak anymore. We don’t say a word. Maybe we are dead, or ghosts. I have the beginning and the end of my story, but I don’t know what happens in the woods, covered with snow. I don’t know how the transfiguration happened. I ask lost boy if he can tell me, I close my eyes to see him. ( My daughter is sleeping now, next to me, I can hear her shallow breathing. My husband snores next to her). Lost boy sits under a silver birch, snow gently falling on his face and shoulders. His chin rests on his chest. The snow sparkles like diamonds and covers his skin. He sacrifices his body to the frozen tomb that covers his body. It is so peaceful. He never speaks. He never fights. He is a statue. He does not tell me what happens between winter and spring. And for 23 years, spring has never come.
My brother lives in a house he built with his six children and his Mennonite wife. The Mennonites and Amish on the Tug Hill Plateau make amazing caramel. Leanne, my brother’s wife, makes amazing caramels. I bring them down from the mountain. The drive takes me past the cut off-road to Brantingham Lake. On the left off of route 12 on the way in, and on the right on the way out. The drive in movies is there on the right marking the way. That cut off-road is frozen in time. I see the fantom red van turning to follow us on the way in, or turning past us on the way back. He said something to me that night, at that turn, in that red van. He repeated it, but I can not remember. I have past this way many many times in the past 23 years, and I can not remember. The words he said are lost in time. That was the last time I saw Lost Boy.
I remember driving through the back roads of the small Adirondack town I grew up in. New Bremen, Carthage, Poland, Barnes Corners… all connected by veins of pine needle laced hot asphalt in the summer or grey frosted salt wash in the winter. I walked those roads as a child. hiked them as a teen. The cold night air stinging my eyes, walking along the road counting the dead frogs whose last moment saw something bigger then themselves coming fast. Fast in the way death comes. I remember Tug Hill Plato with the Amish Farmers. The Amish farms pushed back from the road, camouflaged at night, by the night, no light. The Mennonites have light. My brother married a Mennonite, they live up there on Tug Hill with their six kids and the wind mills. The wind farm sprung up there out of a company based in Texas. The Texans hadn’t realized anyone lived there, you see their eyes had not been trained to see them. Those little farms pushed away from the road, covered in scrub. Church at the end of a bike path of a road. They didn’t see those little farms as old as dirt. Now, what was once unseen can not be missed. Texas paid for digging up the land and planting those huge propellers. They paid a fee to the locals for mare their view. A view of a grey sky. A view of an empty grey sky. The locals laughed all the way to the bank with those checks. The view was like a head of hair to them. Worthless and vain. And then gone. The huge alien creatures, the wind mills, tower like cemetery markers. The Amish and Mennonite god, with his peacemakers, took their checks to the bank and did not duel the wind mills.
There is a road here near Brantingham Lake, near the Pine Tree Bar. A road that begins as a paved road, then a dirt road, then a trail head. A road that takes you back to a trail head in the Adirondacks. I have not travelled that road in over twenty years. That road leads to lost boy. Last time I spoke to the FBI, last year, they said their best guess is that he is still there. I’m grateful for the wind mills now. They can mark the way home for him, when he chooses to be found. The red single eye dotting the center of each propeller. They warn off imaginary flying things. He’ll see that at night, when no other light can be seen, and he will follow their lights home.
Hana yori dango. Dumplings over flowers!