I have a thing for old foundations. There is one in particular in Newfield, NY which I’ve visited year after year since I was a tiny, little girl. It was once a one room farmhouse with a now boarded-up well, deep, deep in the woods. At one time, the land surrounding it was farmland, but it is now nestled deep in an overgrown forest of trees. After all these years of imagining, I feel like I know the family who lived there. There was a young girl who fetched water from the well and parents who built the stone foundation while the children played. And, nights crowded by the fireplace, warming their toes and hands.
This weekend, we visited a 100 year old foundation from a hotel in Goshen, NY, which is set back in the woods across from Tom’s grandmother’s home. The hotel took months and months to build only to burn down days before its grand opening.
I’ve always felt sad looking at the debris of that tiny farm house, knowing it was once a vibrant source of pride and nourishment. And, yet, it is also comforting to look at while imagining that it served a family well for many years. I like to think that the family moved on to better things, maybe an easier way of life.
This hotel just felt plain sad. Its arched brick hallways and window wells show the meticulous work of many careful hands. There were large, stretched out rooms with fireplaces waiting for crowds and travelers (see above photograph). There was pride and anticipation and excitement, and then nothing. Fire and regret. Silence.
Deer sleep there now. Bricks crack off and tumble, muted onto a bed of leaves. I walked up the solid gray stones steps to nowhere, turned around, walked back down and whispered, “I’m here.”