When I was a kid I used to go camping with my family at this place called The Wolf’s Den. I was convinced that there was a cemetery either on the grounds or just beyond them. After all, I was seasonal friends with an albino kid who also camped there every summer, so why wouldn’t there be a cemetery. It was New England after all.
The albino kind, whose name was Ryan, and I had a lot in common. We both liked to stay in the shade while we were camping and supposed to be being all outdoors. Him, out of necessity and me because the sun made it hard for me to read Lord of the Rings for the fourth time. I just thought that we were both kind of dorky, I willfully ignored the fact that all Ryan talked about was being on the junior high basketball team and how he would be schooling those kids on the court if only it had some shade. I wanted to believe that he liked be-dorked and be-speckled me, but he was just a bored jock who was glad to have some to talk to.
I thought that there was this cemetery in the woods behind the campground for years after we stopped bringing our pop-up camper there. It had a high wall that people would practice shooting off, there were remnants of broken pottery and old bottles littering the grounds. The monuments were early 1800′s old and had the lichen growth on them to prove it. I loved and hated going there. It was quiet and peaceful but also a creepy reminder that you will be forgotten.
Turns out, that cemetery is not real. I must have had this reoccurring dream when we went camping at The Wolf’s Den that over the years my brain had turned into a real memory. I suppose as any kind whose family didn’t get them, I needed a respite and my brain made one for me. I went back as an adult and walked the grounds and the woods around it searching for the path and the wire fence that we would duck under to get to it. All I found was old growth forrest and bucolic meadows. There was no cemetery, no wall, no ceramic remnants. It really was just a dream. And I was pissed that reality just made a cliche reality.