had a giant house built for himself, on a sweet piece of land
in his hometown, where he could remain isolated by trees, birds and blooming things.
You might learn all of that, as part of a tour of Fair Lane, the Henry Ford Estate
, but I never did take one of those mansion tours.
Though perfectly enchanting as far as buildings go, my heart belongs to the grounds themselves, to the sneaky teenage times I spent trespassing there with friends, drinking in the dark. Laughing, lying down in tall grasses, first kisses. Stoned, drunk and/or tripping through luscious greenery. Lazing about on a dilapidated dock, stomping along the river, running through the meadows, crunching the leaves underfoot, waiting for new green shoots in the spring. It was there I first learned to truly admire the black crosshatch of bare branches against the steel gray sky of winter.
I was the guest who came in crisp air of dark night, sneaked onto the grounds quietly. In a long woolen coat. Or the black leather biker jacket I wore to keep from getting scratched on the deer trails.
I preferred the deer trails to the main paths because, for me, being enveloped by the woods was like returning to an animal state. Tiny hairs on my neck would tell me things and I would have to listen. Small things would scuttle and large things would rustle and both sounds were physical on me.
It was there that I first tested extremes. Cold, hot, tired. Frightened. Intoxicated marching, anticipation, division, solace, trust, love, lust, fucking, friendship. Laughter so hard my jaw would ache afterwards. Light so bright I had to shade my eyes, dark so deep I could not see my own feet. The elements amplified every sensation. I wanted to get down close to the loamy ground, wanted to run my fingers over the rough of each tree. I think I may have. Or perhaps not, which is why I will have to go back. I will need to go back often, looking for past breadcrumbs.