I once had big dreams that kept me home. Dreams that I would grow up, and stay right where I was, under the watch of Crowders Mountain. A place where life was simple, happy endings were easy, and the world was safe. My Shire. That Shire held an old, red house, a place dear to my heart. The paint was peeling, walls weakening, chimney crumbling, but to me it was a castle. Everyone else looked and saw dusty past, a hazard that needed to be removed. I looked and saw my fairy tale. I knew that if I were to ever open that faded green door, and step into its enchanted walls, everything I ever wanted would come true. My best friend at that time was the only one able to see the magic that house held. We’d stand in front of it with our bikes, and discuss how one day we’d buy it and fix it up, return it to its former red glory. There we would live, her and I, forever best friends, forever safe. Time doesn’t respect the dreams of children though. Years went by, children became teenagers, friendship began to fade, and dreams were forgotten. Unfortunately, magic can be forgotten too. I forgot the enchantment the red house held until one day I was told it was going to be torn down. It had become too much of a danger, an eyesore. It was time for it to be destroyed and something new put in its place. Then I remembered. Remembered the fairy tale that lived in its tired walls, and wondered how I could have ever forgotten. It was as if I had betrayed a dear friend, and I felt as if I needed to apologize. Beg forgiveness for forgetting what beauty its red walls and green door held. The forgetting came so naturally though. Isn’t that what we do? We grow up and forget to see the enchantment that surrounds us, to stop and look for dreams in the most unexpected of places.
My childhood wish to walk past the green door came true, just days before its destruction. It wasn’t filled with magic. Instead dust and grim filled its corners. Memories lay scattered across the rotting floorboards. Then I found it, a trinket of the enchantment I once believed dwelt in that space. A Christmas ornament of a reindeer, somehow once lost and forgotten, was now given to me as a reminder of my red house. How appropriate that a symbol of Christmas, one of the most beautiful holidays of all, would be the thing that I carried away from the house that held my childhood dreams. Then the red walls and green door were gone. The house was easily broken; it did not put up a fight, but accepted that its time was over. Where it once stood now holds no remnants of the life that was once there, and few people probably ever think of that little red house. Time has once again pushed us forward, as it should. I left my Shire, my Narnia, my home, to a house that sits under the watch of another mountain. Crowders Mountain no longer cradles me in her shadow, but that’s ok. I grew up, and no longer need her. It took me a while to accept that it was time for me to leave the house in the woods, the yard with the swing, the road with the holes, but the acceptance did happen. Because now I have big dreams that take me away from home.