What is a ghost and why do they remain? My family tree has several apparitions and I spent my youth trying to see and understand them. During the summers, my extended family gathered at our communal home on the Long Island Sound, in Madison, CT. Our home built in the 1930s, hosted several hauntings. The odd thing was most of my clan never experienced the spectral encounters.
However, now, when I go to Madison, all I see is ghosts.
No, the town was not overtaken by the undead. Rather, it is so altered that I no longer recognize it.
About once a year, I return. There is a hook buried in my chest that pulls tighter around late winter. By summer, its tautness grows unbearable. It only slackens when I see the shore and water.
I have a routine. Windows down driving on Route 450. Catching glimpses of water beyond. Parking the car by the beach access. Walking down to gaze from the shore at the house no longer our home.
What would you do if you saw your closest friend with someone else’s skin on? If you knew the skeleton was the same and maybe even the heart? Would they still be yours or belong to someone else who now loved their new flesh?
When I stand on the beach outside of Bay Berry Knoll, my former home, I see a ghost. When I walk along the timeless shore, I see all of the old summer homes, forests, and marshes shimmering beyond the encroaching mansions.
I wonder if this is what the heron sees, wading in the dwindling marshlands. Do the diving terns tell about before the tall ships landed as suddenly as a storm? I think only the horseshoe crabs know what it was like before two legged animals. What are the ghosts they see and their stories of love and loss? Sometimes I think I can hear and understand them despite my own guilt.
What is a ghost and why do they remain? Memories. Reminders of what is lost and remains in story.