Living Witness, Lingering Ghosts


We got into Williamsburg at dusk, partly due to a misunderstanding with Eunice, our Garmin’s voice (you can almost trust those devices), and partly because we stopped at Gettysburg.

The first time I felt a battlefield, was driving through Steuben, NY. I knew nothing of its history, but a strange, pulling sadness behind my eyes overwhelmed me, like nothing I’d ever felt before. I later asked an historian about the place and she said it had been the site of a terrible battle during the Revolutionary war.

So it was entering Gettysburg.  On the left, a graveyard, on the right, a grassy rolling landscape rising to a hill studded with cannon, bronze statues, magnificent trees, and that same, pulling sadness. Over the hill, brick and stone houses, carefully restored and maintained, some private, some mercantile, march down Baltimore St., many with informative plaques that bring home the fact that families huddled here in basements or garrets, while enemy snipers crouched on their porches; that the Confederacy was driving the Union troops back to cemetery hill at great human cost. At one corner, now empty of its building, a plaque mentions the Twin Sycamores. Both trees are still there, living witness to that time of human hell.

There are ghost tours available. There are T-shirts that ask ‘Got Ghosts?’ Why even ask, when closing your eyes will bring that pulling sadness, not of death, but of unsaid good-byes?

Explore posts in the same categories: Historic Sites, Trees

One Comment on “Living Witness, Lingering Ghosts”

  1. Andree Says:

    Hello you two,
    I enjoyed reading your comments about Williamsburg and the feelings that evoqued a sense of sadness in you. Speaking of sadness, today monday it is raining, mild,49o F. and oh so gray all the snow is melting my sumpump is working non stop. I am enjoing “A new earth” and read a bit every day, Did you find a copy of it yet?Happy and safe traveling.
    Love Andree

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