I have always been attracted to the inner sanctum - alternate realities - hidden realms - secret places. Some of my favorite books, or parts of books, from childhood involved hidden spaces: Hester Gray's garden in Anne of Avonlea, The Secret Garden, Sarah Crewe's attic room at the girls' boarding school, or the Alden children's home in the boxcar with their pineneedle beds.
Being in this room, with its enormously high vaulted ceiling, the sun streaming in, trees growing up from the dirt floor, the sunlight dappled with green leaves - oh my, it transported me. I want to go back. I want to live there. I want my children to feel the tug of intrigue and have their senses filled with the ethereal atmosphere.
And yet...I also felt mournful there. I imagined its history: all the people and cows and hay who have been inside that place. How the farmer who built it would slap his forehead in disbelief if he could see it now. How the children who played on the thick rope swing in the haymow would feel teary to see their magical playland a mere shadow of its former self. And how even the trees from which the lumber was milled would see themselves, astonished: still strong, but leaning, leaning, and slowly on their way back to mildewy dust.
This place . . . affected me.