In my lifetime, I have been privileged to travel to some of the most beautiful places in the world. I have seen the rich fire of sunset over the Rocky Mountains and the brilliance of coral reefs in crystal blue Caribbean waters. No spot on earth, however, has yet surpassed the beauty of my childhood paradise, a place my family called Tamarack.
Tamarack was a family camp and hunting lodge set deep in the heart of the Mountains. My earliest memories of it are fractured images of sights and sounds and smells--golden bars of sunlight through majestic oaks and elms, the ever-present smell of wood smoke and haunting echoes. I suspect that the setting was the reason for the eerie echoes which resounded about the site. The house, itself, was built on the side of a steep hill leading down to a small private lake at the bottom. This fact, combined with the height of the ancient trees, caused a cavern-like effect. Regardless of the reasons for this phenomenon, it was a well known fact to all of us that no one could say a word without the rest of us in camp hearing at least a part of the conversation. My sister and I, when we were very young, could never figure out why all of our secret plans for mischief were foiled before we could carry them out. Hiding things from our mother was one of our favorite things to do. We would sometimes laugh ourselves breathless, watching her scratch her head in confusion. Once we caught on to the tell-tale echo, we were careful to make all of our plans while the adults were busy elsewhere.
The house at Tamarack was a rough-hewn structure, built by my great-grandfather, of logs which he had cleared from the spot on which it stood. It could have been considered a log cabin if not for its two-story desi...
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...ngry, and for quite a period of time, I refused to even speak to my grandmother. My young mind refused to grasp the logic of her decision. To this day, a part of me believes that there must have been some alternative solution, although I can not think of what that would be.
The camp was sold to strangers, people with no care or respect for its special history. My cousins would occasionally report on its condition after sneaking up during the months of the hunting season when it was closed up. Changes were made to the original structure; it was modernized until, after being sold again, it was torn down to build a newer, more modern house. At last report, I would not even recognize the place; it has been so changed. That is neither here nor there, for Tamarack has always, and will always, remain in my mind and in my heart, the place of golden sunlight and echoes.
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