Courtney discovers something new
For most people, the word abandoned brought up feelings of rejection and loss. Not for Courtney. For her, it conjured images of past times and the stories the abandoned structures she photographed told, if only one were willing to listen.
She had been disappointed the first time her editor had assigned her to the team researching an abandoned mine. She laughed when she thought of that now. It had been nearly twenty years ago, and the stories the locals had told about the mine were as fascinating as what she had found inside.
Now bereft of the humans who had mined ore from its depths, the old mine had become home to rodents and a plethora of insects and lizards. After the cave-in, ground water had seeped in and it had become an underground habitat for them.
Courtney had been enthralled by the entire experience. She had volunteered for the next team, and now led her own. She had written three books on abandoned structures and thought she had seen everything. But the monastery in which she stood now gave her chills.
Local legend said a massacre had occurred within its walls. None of the monks had survived an attack by an invading army. Though more than a century had passed, the building was in remarkable shape. Plants had taken over, and, as usual, wildlife had moved in. But something about this place exuded peacefulness, despite its terrible history.
Courtney imagined monks gathered in the chamber in which she stood, thought she could hear their chants. This was a welcoming place. Why had no one reclaimed it? She asked her guide.
“This is a holy place,” the guide said. “We revere it and tend the life within, as the monks would have wished. As they were our ancestors’ guardians, so are we theirs.”
A chill prickled the skin of Courtney’s arms at those words. Not one of fear, but of wonder. In the mine that day nearly twenty years ago, she had discovered a love abandoned places and their history. Today, she discovered something new, something unexpected. She discovered the spirit of service.
I follow a Twitter account called Abandoned Places. They post some really fun pictures and I decided to create some abandoned places of my own. This story was inspired by the image above.