It has happened not once, but twice this summer.
The first time, I blamed a relative who’d spent a night at the cabin for leaving without closing the window. That weekend, when I left the cabin myself, I made certain that the window was not only closed tightly, but locked. Click. Click.
A week later, I drove into the yard and as I looked at the cabin, I saw the same window open again.
To say that our cabin has a ghost would be an understatement. We have several.
Even so, this is a new trick. Maybe even a new ghost.
The only person who ever passed away in the house by the river was my great grandfather, a gentleman who’d lived a good and gentle life into his eightieth decade and who went to sleep to the sound of crickets and frogs one soft June night and simply never woke up the next morning. A quiet man who died just as he’d lived…quietly and with dignity.
A house that has sheltered five generations of family has ghosts. I am not bothered by ours. They are not the creepy, malevolent Amityville Horror types of ghosts. Our ghosts have good manners. They are quiet spirits who check in periodically. Sometimes, it is the faintest whiff of pipe or cigar smoke that heralds their arrival. Other times, it is a door that closes or the flickering of a light. No big deal. Often, on summer evenings after the dinner dishes are cleared from the kitchen table and family members linger over cups of coffee, it is just a feeling that there is one more at the table, unseen, listening to the laughter…listening to the Love.
I don’t search for deeper meanings from their visits, but I’m mystified by the open window. It’s a window that my grandmother, who has been gone for many years now, often opened because of the good cross breeze it offered while she stood stirring large kettles of raspberry jam, fried doughnuts, or had the oven on to bake a pie. Maybe the open window is her way of telling me that she approves of the new tile back splash in her kitchen? Or maybe it’s a signal to a granddaughter who, like her, is known to be too closed, too critical, too sharp, too rigid – most often, with the people she loves the most. Maybe the open window is a reminder to leave at least one window open in that granddaughter’s heart. To give herself and others a break for being human.
All I know for sure is that I locked that darn window the last time I left the cabin.
And that if it’s my grandmother, I sure wish she’d leave one of her wild blueberry pies.