Almost three years after my first visit, I was hiking again today along the pond at Trail Wood. The visitors' register for the 200-year-old Connecticut farm showed only one other signature from earlier in the day. It was a quiet bridge I crossed to the writing cabin.
For a second time I had signed my own name in the register. Leafing back, I was able to find my signature from the Sunday in October 2007 when I first visited the home and study of Edwin Way Teale, the American naturalist writer whose books had lured me here.
For a second time I got to sit today on the stone steps leading to the front door of the log cabin that Teale had built facing his pond. A guide had unlocked the cabin that Sunday afternoon three years ago, and the chance to walk into the rustic space with the writer's desk and chair had been stirring.
When I understood what Edwin Way Teale had set out to do at Trail Wood at age sixty, I knew that dreams of my own were not negligible. Why not acknowledge the right to center my life on what my heart longed to do? Why shy from the journey that opened before me?
If the register I had twice signed in the last three years could not vouch for a larger number of visitors, it nonetheless testified to the power of something that I might otherwise have ignored or dismissed. Dreaming happens in the quiet of the night, in the stillness of a Saturday meadow. Such dreaming is everyone's right.
I knew people I wanted to contact today as I grew calmer and calmer in this holy site.I read out loud the handwritten letter from one friend. I spoke into the early afternoon air all the gratitude and wonder that I could muster at what human lives can manage to be. I thanked Edwin Way Teale for his dream on behalf of all the lives it has already touched.
It will touch more.