§ A Novel of Time Travel
I walked up the hill and turned right on the paved park road that follows an old farm trail north to the North Woods.
There is a part of the East Woods that has been regrown, but it doesn’t encompass the complete area that the East Woods covered in 1862. I walked down the road to where the remnant of the woods remains. There is a 4 foot high post and rail fence on the side of the road that acts as a barrier between the road traffic and the eastern face of the woods.
I walked further down the road to where the East Woods begins, hopped the fence, and walked to the western face of the East Woods. I wanted to enter the woods from the west, which was the way the various Confederate regiments did during the battle.
As I walked south along the western edge of the woods, I thought about the affinity I had for the East Woods. I had been drawn to this place more than any other portion of the battlefield. On one of my previous visits, I had closed my eyes and walked along a park road that is now in the original East Woods, trying to grasp a vision of what it must have looked like back in 1862.
I finally reached the spot that I thought would be the best place to turn into the woods. I stood there for a moment and thought of the fighting that had taken place under these trees; of the artillery shells that burst in the tree tops raining down deadly branches and metal shards on the soldiers; and of the dead and wounded that lay in the woods after the battle.
I took a deep breath and went into the gloom. It was really hard to see in the woods’ darkness. I had already deemed it not wise to carry a flashlight, because the beam could have been spotted and probably reported to park security.
I picked my way from tree to tree – stumbling once – but I was able to keep from falling by catching the trunk of a small sapling. My plan was to traverse the woods from west to east; jump the fence; and walk to my car.
I had gotten to the center of the woods, but something was amiss…